The remains of a missing Florida woman have been identified and her estranged husband and father-in-law are behind bars, nearly a week after the woman failed to pick up her son from school.
Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson confirmed to reporters Sunday, October 27 that the remains of 35-year-old Nicole Montalvo had been discovered Friday on her in-law’s property, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Montalvo was last seen alive one week ago on Oct. 21 as she was leaving to drop off her son at the home of her estranged husband, Christopher Otero-Rivera, and his parents.
She was reported missing by her family after she failed to pick up her son from school on Tuesday, PEOPLE reports.
Authorities began to search the property owned by Otero-Rivera’s parents on Thursday but initially did not find any sign of the missing mom.
Then on Friday Gibson announced that authorities had found possible human remains — but investigators did not confirm the identity of the body until Sunday.
Both men had reportedly been living at the property where the remains were discovered.
“Our investigation is by no means complete,” Gibson said during the press conference. “We’re really just beginning to uncover a lot of different facts from the case.”
Gibson told the media that the investigation was “switching gears” from a missing persons case to a murder investigation.
“Our hearts go out to friends and family [of Montalvo]. I know they’re suffering and starting the grieving process,” Gibson said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Otero-Rivera, 31, and his father, Angel Luis Rivera, 61, were both taken into custody Friday night on unrelated charges. By Sunday, they were each also facing charges of premeditated murder, the paper reports, citing court records.
Investigators have not released a motive in the slaying, but the couple was separated and there is a history of domestic violence in their relationship.
In October 2018, Otero-Rivera allegedly kidnapped and attacked Montalvo after he lured her to an area under the guise that he needed help with a dead truck battery, according to an affidavit obtained by Spectrum News 13.
When she arrived, he allegedly took her to an isolated road, threw her to the ground, attacked her, and threatened her about texts she had sent to a friend and for taking his son, the report said. He also took about $40 from her along with some of her debit cards.
As part of a plea deal, Rivera did not contest charges of battery, tampering with a witness, and unlawful possession of stolen cards. He was sentenced to probation and nearly a year in jail, but was given credit for time already served.
Earlier this month, Montalvo had reportedly asked a judge to drop a protection order she had against Otero-Rivera because she thought it would be best for the couple’s son, WFTV reports.
Montalvo’s friend Felcia Fearon told the station that she became concerned for her friend’s safety after learning she had not shown up to pick up her son.
"It's not like her to drop off her son and not pick him back up," she said. "He's her world, so that's all she did—be with him, spend time with him."
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