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Man who moved from Puerto Rico after hurricane charged with strangling aunt

A 27-year-old man who moved from Puerto Rico to live with his aunt in Buffalo after the island was devastated by a hurricane has been charged with killing her.

Luis E. Lopez-Rivera was arraigned Thursday morning in Erie County Court after being indicted by a grand jury on a second-degree murder charge in the strangulation death of Maria Rivera.

Rivera, 48, of Buffalo, was found dead at 10:35 p.m. Feb. 11 in her residence in the Koval Apartments on Sobieski Street, police previously said. Investigators believe she was killed the day before her body was found.

Judge John L. Michalski ordered Lopez-Rivera held without bail. Lopez-Rivera was taken into custody in Florida. He had been living with his aunt at the time of her death because he had no other place to live, said Colleen Curtin Gable, homicide bureau chief with the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

Police considered Lopez-Rivera a "person of interest" in his aunt's death "early on," Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said.

Lopez-Rivera moved to Buffalo after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, authorities said.

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