The mother-in-law of a murdered Florida woman has been arrested and charged in connection with the brutal killing, authorities announced Friday --five days after the suspects son and husband were apprehended in the same case.
Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson told reporters thatWanda Nereida Rivera, 59, was booked Friday and is being held in lieu of0,000 bond. She isaccused of tampering with evidence related to the death of Nicole Montalvo and providing false or misleading statements to detectives during questioning over the past week.
Gibson described Riveraas emotional, following her arrest, adding that she is not co-operating with the investigation and hasalready consulted an attorney.
Montalvos estranged husband and the father of their son, Christopher Otero-Rivera, 31, and his father Angel Luis Rivera, 63 the son and husband of Wanda Rivera respectivelywere initially arrested last Fridayon unrelated charges. After Montalvos death was confirmed on Sunday,the men were charged with premeditated murder and ordered held without bondat the Osceola County Jail.
The homicide investigation isongoing, and Gibson said he expected more arrestsin the coming days.
We do know other people involved in this, he stressed. Its going to lead to more arrests. This [murder]was definitely planned, and when it took effect, people were contacted or involved in whatever role [with regardto]the remains.
We will drain every pond, no matter how small a role someone played in this, the sheriff added. They will be brought to justice.
The 33-year-old Montalvo, a smiling employee at Broadway Pizza Bar inKissimmee, was reported missing Oct. 23. She had dropped offher and Otero-Riveras8-year-old son Elijahat his fathers home in St. Cloud two days earlier, but did not return to collect him. Investigators discovered human remains at a property belonging to Montalvos in-laws on Oct. 25.; authorities confirmed theremains as Montalvotwo days later.
Gibson said Montalvos body wasin one of the worst conditions he has seen over 32 years as a homicide detective and sheriff, adding that the remains had been disassembled.The cause of death is still yet to be determined, though autopsy results are expected next week.
Im so angry what these people have done to this sweet woman, at a time in her life when she felt as though she had finally broken freeand was so happy to have made her first months rent, Gibson said. Many times, victims of domestic violence dont know how to break free, but she was out there on her own getting it done. Now she is dead.
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When this autopsy is done, people are going to be horrified, Gibson added.
But this was hardly the first allegedly savage encounter Montalvo had faced at the hands of Otero-Rivera, with whom she had filed for divorce. According to court filings, Montalvo sought the help of law enforcement on numerous occasions, and incidences of violence had escalated over several years.
She is said to have first filed for a restraining order in June 2016, alleging that Otero-Rivera had attacked their son, who was 5 years old at the time.
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Photos of Montalvo sporting bruises and a neck brace were included in court petitions, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The paper also reported that Montalvo had indicated in filings that Otero-Rivera had previously been involuntarily hospitalized under the states Bakers Act, which allows a 72-hour hold for those believed to be a danger to themselves or others.
Yet the worst alleged incident came in October 2018. Montalvo told law enforcement that Otero-Rivera texted her that his truck had broken downand that he needed a ride. However, he then led her to a barren area where another car, driven by a woman identified as Toni Rocker, pulled up.
Montalvo was subsequently dragged from her vehicle and thrown to the ground. After her husband purportedly stuffed a cloth in her mouth and attempted to break her neck, Rocker allegedly helda knife to Montalvosthroat and threatenedto kill her if she told anyone about the attack.
The pair were arrested.
Rocker, 31, was acquitted in April of charges of kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. According to Gibson, Rockeris not a suspect in Montalvos murder and has cooperated with investigators.
Otero-Rivera pleadedno contest to hindering a witnesss ability to communicate with law enforcement, unlawful possession of a credit or debit card, and battery. The more serious charges of kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault were dropped as part of a plea agreement.
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After serving just eight months behind bars, Otero-Riverawas released on two years of probation which included wearing an ankle bracelet for monitoring. He was barredfrom communicating with Montalvo except via parenting cellphone application but has since been charged with violating theno-contact order after admitting to calling her. Angel Luis Rivera, a convicted felon, was initially apprehended Friday on charges of unlawful weapons and ammunition possession.
This is a person who already tried to snap Nicoles neck, and he took this plea deal, Gibson lamented. Domestic violence should not be a misdemeanor; [it]should be a felony. If weapons are used, they can be enhanced to a felony. But anything domestic violence-related should be moved to a felony.
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Gibson and several members of law enforcement joined Montalvos family and dozens of mourners Mondayat St. Clouds Lakefront Park for a candlelight vigil, bothto remember Nicole Montalvos life andto illuminate the dark plight victims of domestic violence walk through day after day.
A second vigil is expected to take place Saturday at Montalvosformer workplace, Broadway Pizza, for family and co-workers.
We need our prosecutors to take this case seriously, Gibson told Fox News. We will be a voice for the voiceless. We will have justice for Nicole.B:
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