‘Something bad happened:’ Man calls 911 after strangling fiancée to death, police say

Young child home at the time of incident

Mugshot courtesy Sanford Police Department (Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

SANFORD, Fla. – A man is behind bars and facing first-degree murder charges after he strangled his fiancée to death while a young child was at home, according to the Sanford Police Department.

Officers responded to the Stonebrook Apartment complex on Stonebrook Drive Wednesday after receiving a 911 call from a man advising “something bad happened.”

When officers arrived at the scene, they said they found Samantha Feliciano Rivera, 24, dead inside the apartment. A small child was also found sleeping inside the home, according to a report.

Investigators determined 32-year-old Miguel Angel Cruz-Perez, Rivera’s fiancé, made the call to police after intentionally strangled his Rivera until she was dead.

According to the arrest report, Cruz-Perez told investigators prior to killing Rivera they prayed together in the bathroom.

Moments later when they finished praying, Rivera turned to walk into the bedroom, according to the report. Cruz-Perez told investigators he followed her and “snuck up” behind the victim, putting her in a rear choke hold for “no less than 10 minutes."

According to the arrest report, Cruz-Perez waited four hours to call 911 after Rivera stopped breathing. In that time period he called his parents and two sisters and confessed, police said. Investigators said he did not perform any life-saving measures on Rivera.

Police said Rivera was found on the bed with bruising around her neck and obvious signs of a physical struggle.

Police said the child inside the home was not harmed.

Cruz-Perez was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree homicide and is being held at the Seminole County Jail, records show.

“A young child will now grow up without a mother, and Samantha’s family will now be without a daughter and sister due to an inexplicable act of violence," said Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith. "Even with years of experience in law enforcement, any loss of young life is still shocking and gut wrenching.”

Police said anyone with information are asked to contact the Sanford Police Department or Crimeline at 800 423-TIPS or visit www.crimeline.org. Calls made to Crimeline remain anonymous, and tips to Crimeline that lead to solving a felony case are eligible for a cash reward of up to $5,000 dollars.

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