OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – The suspect arrested in connection with the death of a missing St. Cloud mother whose dismembered remains were later found on his property incriminated his son, the victim’s estranged husband who is also facing charges, in a letter he wrote from jail.
That jailhouse letter was included among more than 1,100 pages of documents released Tuesday by the State Attorney’s Office that detail how the investigation into 33-year-old Nicole Montalvo’s disappearance and later her death unfolded.
A strained relationship
Records show that before her death, Montalvo complained about the treatment she received from Otero-Rivera and his family. In Facebook messages to a friend days before her death, she spoke of someone hacking her account and blocking several men.
“He will never leave me alone,” Montalvo wrote on Oct. 19, 2019. “Unless I go.”
She spoke of the family watching the son she shared with Otero-Rivera and said they called her a bad mother because she had to work.
“I hate how they make me feel,” she wrote.
“Don’t let them get to you,” Montalvo’s friend replied. “Your (sic) an amazing mom.”
That same friend called Montalvo multiple times on Oct. 21, 2019 but the calls were not returned. She was reported missing that same day after failing to pick up her son from school.
Osceola County deputies said Montalvo dropped her son off at the Rivera residence that day and never left the property. Her remains were found buried about two to five feet deep on the family’s property on Hixon Avenue days later.
‘You could be dead’
According to the documents, Montalvo spoke with several friends about the problems with her estranged husband and his family. In an undated message, one confidant urged Montalvo to leave her marriage for her own safety.
“I am not sure what to say. When I got your message yesterday, I was shocked, and it broke my heart. I love you, and for that reason, I am going to tell you what I think, and not just sit back. Before he tried to kill you, he cheated, used drugs, abused you, took your money. Then he tried to kill you. You could be dead!!! If a person is capable of that, that’s not something that is fixed. Either you are capable of it or not. He is capable. He could kill you in the future. Also, when you found out he was getting out, you were terrified. Remember how scare (sic) you were and use that to be strong right now. Do not take him back!! Look how far you have come! All the things you have done for yourself. I understand loneliness, but don’t let that be a reason to allow him back in. You will find someone who treats you the way you deserve, be patient. Finally, you miss the Chris you first met. GIRL!!!! He hasn’t been there as long as I have known you. He is gone! Separate yourself from him ... He will find his way back in if you let him. It may cost you your life," the friend wrote in a text message.
Montalvo replied that she’s been trying to leave but it’s been difficult, especially with her father-in-law threatening to take her son away.
“They said they have evidence of being able to take (my son),” Montalvo wrote.
She said her son was her major motivator but even the 8-year-old boy warned her to stay away from Otero-Rivera.
“I’m terrified but I need to stay strong for myself an (sic) mainly (my son),” the text read. “(My son) said mommy stay away from daddy.”
Forensic detectives scour suspect’s 5-acre property
For weeks after Montalvo’s disappearance, members of the Osceola County forensic team sifted through dirt and searched the 5-acre property belonging’s to Montalvo’s in-laws.
Samples collected from the garage, laundry room and an orange cart all tested positive for blood, forensic evidence showed.
Human remains were found on areas on the property that had recently been excavated by Rivera and Otero-Rivera, detectives said. Otero-Rivera was on house arrest at the time of the burial and his ankle monitor GPS showed he was moving around the area where the remains were found.
On Oct. 24, a piece of tissue was found on the property.
That same day, Montalvo’s vehicle was located on Big Sky Boulevard. The driver’s door was slightly ajar, the dome light was on and a blue latex glove was located near the trunk, records show. Another glove was found across the street.
The next day, remains were found.
Searching one square foot at a time, investigators continued to collect pieces of remains found throughout the property.
The search required help from multiple Central Florida law enforcement agencies.
Detectives had to collect samples from Montalvo’s parents to positively ID remains found on the property, according to a report of the crime scene investigations.
On Oct. 28, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the tissue and other remains found belonged to the missing 33-year-old mother.
“Based on our investigation detectives have reason to believe that on 10/21/19 Nicole dropped of her son … at 3925, but never left the property according to cell phone records,” according to the investigative report. “Nicole was killed and her body was cut into pieces and then buried by Angel and Christopher as their apparent activities confirmed by witnesses and GPS monitoring placing them at the burial site, which was an attempt to discard of her body."
Father incriminates son
As evidence began to point to Rivera and Otero-Rivera, forensic technicians were sent to collect DNA, fingerprints, fingernail clippings and swabs from the father and son.
Otero-Rivera remained silent during the process but Rivera did not.
Records show he was at a hospital receiving treatment on Oct. 29 and appeared to be medicated.
“My prints will be in the car,” Rivera said.
Records released Tuesday don’t indicate whether that was actually the case.
“With my son’s ex-girlfriend, I told my son, ‘If you do anything like that, this is what they will do,’” Rivera said.
After his arrest, Rivera made a few other written statements about the alleged crime.
Rivera wrote in a jailhouse letter that, “The truth will come out and I will be home soon.”
He told his wife they should plan a cruise after he’s released.
“We have not done anything wrong,” he wrote.
In a letter to a different person, he wrote that “Chris will have to do some time.”
“They know that you, Nick and me didn’t do anything. I’m sure that someone helped Chris. I just don’t know who would help do such a thing,” the letter read.
While Otero-Rivera remains behind bars, Rivera was released from the Osceola County Jail Monday night after posting bond.