Charges Filed in Connection with Death of Disabled Man

Published on November 02, 2023

Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Chief of Detectives Robert McNally, and East Hanover Police Chief Christopher Cannizzo announce that charges have been filed against a licensed nurse in connection with the death of a disabled man, who passed away shortly after being transported on his school bus.

On February 10, 2023, East Hanover Police were called to a residence on a report of an unconscious male. The man, Matthew Rossi, 19, who was wheelchair bound, had just arrived home on the bus from his school. EMS personnel and East Hanover Police officers attempted CPR and other life-saving intervention. The victim was subsequently pronounced deceased.

In keeping with policy, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office conducted an investigation into the circumstances of the victim’s death.  Subsequent investigation revealed the victim was accompanied on the bus by a licensed nurse, Emilio J. Rivera.  It is alleged that Rivera was legally responsible for the care of the victim, and neglected to perform certain acts necessary for the victim’s care and created a substantial risk of the victim’s death. 

As of result of the investigation, Emilio J. Rivera, 29, of Carlstadt, has been charged with one count of Endangering Another Person, 2C:24-7.1, a crime of the second degree; and Neglect of a Disabled Person, 2C:24-8, a crime of the third degree. The complaint was filed on November 2, 2023. Rivera has been remanded to the Morris County Correctional Facility pending a first appearance.

Prosecutor Carroll said, “The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office extends its condolences to the Rossi family for their loss. This complex investigation involved comprehensive analysis of medical reports and other available data and information. I would also like to acknowledge the East Hanover Police officers and medics who worked diligently to try to save the life of the victim.”

Members of the East Hanover Police Department, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation unit, and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit participated in the investigation.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite these accusations, the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Media inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to [email protected].


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