Judge denies bond for trio accused of killing wrong woman in murder-for-hire plot
Suspects knew they had wrong victim but killed her anyway, sheriff says
OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Detectives say a Kissimmee woman was abducted and murdered after being mistaken for the intended target of a murder-for-hire plot.
Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson said Ishnar Lopez Ramos hired Alexis Ramos Rivera and his girlfriend, Glorianmarie Quinones Montes, to kill a romantic rival, but they mistook Janice Zengotita-Torres, 42, of Kissimmee, for the intended victim and killed her.
"The victim was not the actual target of the murder for hire that was actually killed. It was someone else. However, the suspects continued with their plan of murder and tied the victim with zip ties and then her head in duct tape and garbage bags," Gibson said.
Gibson said the suspects followed Zengotita-Torres after she left work at Ross on Sunday night and accosted her when she got home. They forced her into the trunk of her own vehicle.
They drove the victim to an ATM and made her to hand over her PIN and ATM card, then Ramos withdrew cash from her account, authorities said.
From there, they went to an apartment near the Mall at Millennia. Deputies said Montes went inside the apartment while Ramos and Rivera stayed in the vehicle with Zengotita-Torres.
Gibson said that's when Ramos and Rivera realized they had abducted the wrong person, but decided to continue with their plan.
The suspects tied Zengotita-Torres with zip ties, covered her head with a garbage bag then Rivera beat her until she was unconscious, according to authorities.
"The suspects showed no regard for this victim, causing her to die from suffocation because the garbage bags were wrapped around her head," Gibson said.
The suspects drove Zengotita-Torres' vehicle, with her in it, to Ormond Beach and left her body near the intersection on Bennett Lane where she was found shortly before 9 a.m. Monday by a Spectrum employee who was doing work in the area, according to officials.
Zengotita-Torres' vehicle was later found in Orange County, Gibson said.
"The heinous murder of one of our own citizens will not be tolerated in Osceola County," Gibson said.
Ramos was arrested Thursday night while using Zengotita-Torres' card to withdraw cash from an ATM in the area, according to authorities. Gibson said she was wearing Zengotita-Torres' clothing when she was arrested.
She confessed and implicated Montes and Rivera, who were arrested at a hotel in Orange County.
"All three confirmed that this was a murder-for-hire and that the victim was mistakenly -- again, mistakenly -- targeted and murdered as being the person they thought was the intended victim," Gibson said.
He described Zengotita-Torres as a truly innocent victim who had no involvement with the three suspects. He said she moved to Osceola County from Puerto Rico a year ago and lived with her husband, her 14-year-old son and her mother.
Gibson became emotional when discussing the case with reporters Friday evening. He described it as one of the most bizarre and heinous crimes he's investigated during his time in law enforcement.
"It was just a mistaken identity, I don't say that lightly, that this woman lost her life for no reason. This mother, this wife, this daughter -- for no reason, at all," Gibson said.
Montes, Ramos and Rivera are charged with first-degree murder. Their criminal history was not immediately available.
The woman who was the intended target of the murder-for-hire plot has been notified about the scheme against her but has denied protective services, deputies said.
All three suspects were denied bond Saturday during their first appearances before a judge.
Check back for more information on this developing story.
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