A Florida sheriff is speaking out about the horrific death of a Florida mother—allegedly at the hands of her husband and father-in-law—calling it the worst he’s ever seen in his more than 30-year career in law enforcement.
“When this autopsy is done, people are going to be horrified,” Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson told Fox News.
The body of Nicole Montalvo was discovered last week on property owned by her in-laws—marking the tragic end of the life of a woman who had faced brutal domestic violence throughout her rocky relationship with husband Christopher Otero-Rivera.
Otero-Rivera, 31, and his father Angel Luis Rivera, 63, are now each facing charges of premeditated murder in the 33-year-old’s death.
Montalvo had left the relationship after years of abuse and had filed for divorce shortly before she was killed.
“I’m 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 free (from the relationship) and was so happy to have made her first month’s rent,” Gibson told the news outlet. “Many times, victims of domestic violence don’t know how to break free, but she was out there on her own getting it done. Now she is dead.”
He described the condition of the body, which was “disassembled,” as the worst he had ever seen in his 32-year career.
Investigators believe it was a violent end to a relationship marred by violence. In 2016, Montalvo filed for a restraining order against her husband after she said he “smacked” her across the face and then dragged her by her hair into the couple’s bedroom, according to court records obtained by The Orlando Sentinel. The alleged abuse began after she had returned home with the couple’s 5-year-old son and discovered her husband had been drinking.
“This isn’t the first time it happen[ed] but this is the worst time,” she wrote at the time.
She also told police that her husband had been hospitalized in the past under the state’s Baker Act, a law that allows temporary involuntary commitment for a person believed to be a threat to themselves or someone else.
Then in 2018, Montalvo was kidnapped and assaulted by her husband and a woman who had been with him at the time.
She would later tell investigators that she had received a text from Otero-Rivera telling her that his truck battery had died and he needed a ride, but when she arrived, the woman—later identified as Toni Rocker—ripped her out of the car and threw her to the ground, according to the affidavit.
Otero-Rivera then climbed on top of her, tried to stuff a piece of cloth in her mouth and slapped her repeatedly.
At one point, he tried to break her neck, according to court records.
The pair eventually let Montalvo go—but not before threatening if that if she told the police, she’d be killed.
Otero-Rivera later pleaded no contest to hindering a witness’ ability to communicate with law enforcement, unlawful possession of a credit or debit card and battery in the incident, the local paper reports.
“This is a person who already tried to snap Nicole’s neck, and he took this plea deal,” Gibson told Fox News. “Domestic violence should not be a misdemeanor; they 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.”
Otero-Rivera served eight months behind bars and was sentenced to two years of supervised probation.
At the time of Montalvo’s death, he was reportedly wearing an ankle monitor, Spectrum News 13 reports.
Rocker took her case to trial and was later acquitted of kidnapping, robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
A judge had also ordered that Otero-Rivera was not to have contact with Montalvo except through a parenting app.
She filed for divorce in February, court records indicate.
However, in July, she asked a judge to reduce the restrictions on the communication between the former couple, writing that she wanted to do what was best for her son.
“He is my main concern and no matter what at the end of the day Chris is his dad,” she wrote according to The Orlando Sentinel. “Chris was a good dad we just can’t be together.”
Just days after Montalvo’s remains were discovered, the community held a candlelight vigil to honor her memory.
“Love should not hurt, it shouldn’t be painful,” her twin brother Eddie Montalvo said, according to Spectrum News 13.
Investigators are expected to receive the autopsy results next week.
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