Body found in river ‘tentatively’ identified as missing HCC student

Bruce Rivera, photo courtesy Kristina Costilow
Bruce Rivera, photo courtesy Kristina Costilow

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – The Tampa Police Dive Team responded to the Hillsborough River Monday morning and recovered a body. The victim has been identified tentatively as Bruce Rivera, 19.

Rivera attended Hillsborough Community College and lived in Zephyrhills. Investigators say he had last been seen near Sulphur Springs Park.

Bruce Rivera, photo courtesy Kristina Costilow
Bruce Rivera, photo courtesy Kristina Costilow

TPD found the body around 11 a.m. near Florida Avenue. Tampa Police said an official ID will be released later this week. An autopsy will be conducted Tuesday. The medical examiner will figure out Rivera’s cause of death to determine if it is a death or homicide investigation.

TPD towed away a white sedan near the crime scene. The car had belonged to Rivera, a Hillsborough Community College student from Zephyrhills. Rivera was reported missing earlier Monday. He was last seen Sunday morning. His family said it was unlike Rivera to go missing without communication.

Rivera’s fiancée, Kristina Costilow, said she had been holding out hope he’d be found alive. “I tried to believe in my heart, stay positive, positive thoughts, positive results,  now I just don’t know,” Costilow said. “It’s like one minute I don’t know how to feel. I am everywhere and nowhere.”

Rivera was ambitious and wanted to be a lawyer, Costilow said. “He was ready to take the next step in life, always looking for what was next, what was best for him. He was someone who wanted to go far in life. We made a joke, maybe you can be president one day,” she said.

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Stay with WFLA for more on this developing story.

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