New details emerge in botched murder-for-hire plot

3 arrested in Kissimmee in death of Janice Zengotita-Torres

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Osceola County Sheriff's Office has released new details in what it is calling a botched murder-for-hire plot that left an innocent mother dead.

On Sunday, deputies released the missing persons report with a timeline of the final hours of Janice Zengotita-Torres' life.

Investigators said Zengotita-Torres was working at Ross on Jan. 7 and called her son at 10:15 p.m. to tell him that she would be home around 1:30 a.m.

At 12:33 a.m., surveillance video showed Zengotita-Torres driving away from the store. At 1:30 a.m., deputies said there were two transactions on the victim's bank card.

According to the report, when her family called her phone at 4:30 a.m., the calls went directly to voicemail.

At 7:45 a.m., Zengotita-Torres was reported missing.  Her body was found hours later dumped on the side of a road in Ormond Beach.

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.

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, officials 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 body 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. 

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. 

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.