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Father of boy accused of killing his baby half-sister speaks out

Byron Rivera, 35, is the biological father of Crystian Rivera, a 13-year-old Oklahoma City boy accused of killing his baby half-sister by shaking her. Byron Rivera said he was devastated to hear about his son's arrest and is seeking legal advice to help him.
BY TIFFANY GIBSON tgibson@opubco.com Published: August 26, 2011

Byron Rivera said he hasn't seen his son Crystian in four years, and now the only way he can see him is through a Plexiglas window at the Oklahoma County jail.

Crystian Rivera, 13, is being held without bail on a murder complaint in the death of his half-sister, Linda Beletzuy. Linda was nearly 10 months old when she died Friday from a head injury.

Crystian Rivera told police he shook the infant when her cries began distracting him from playing a video game inside their apartment at 1609 N MacArthur Blvd. Medical staff said Linda Beletzuy had a severe brain injury, a skull fracture and blood clots that were compressing her brain.

Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said the parents of the girl, Linda and Carlos Beletzuy, are not being investigated for any wrongdoing, but a third child in the house was taken into DHS custody, at least temporarily.

Carlos Beletzuy was reached Thursday but declined to comment on the case.

The last visit

Crystian's biological father, Byron Rivera, 35, said he read about his son's arrest in The Oklahoman and wants to speak on his behalf.

“It's kind of a huge surprise for me to hear about the situation right now,” he said. “I want peace and freedom for him.”

The last time the two met was at an Oklahoma City restaurant on Sept. 16, 2007. He said they sat and talked for an hour about school and life in the United States.

“It was really hard when I saw him,” he said. “I said, ‘Son, I'm here and I love you.' He told me he was attending church and reading the Bible.”

Coming to the U.S.

Byron Rivera said he and Linda were married in 1997 and Crystian was born in Guatemala in 1998. The family moved to Phoenix in 1999 and relocated several times before settling in Oklahoma in 2000.

The couple separated that year and their divorce was final in 2002. Custody of Crystian was granted to his mother, court records show, and Byron Rivera was awarded supervised visitation.

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