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Man accused of strangling fiancée at Sanford apartment indicted on murder charge

Young child found in apartment where victim was strangled, police say

Miguel Angel Cruz-Perez.
Miguel Angel Cruz-Perez. (WKMG)

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A man accused of strangling his fiancée earlier this year at an apartment complex in Seminole County has been indicted on a murder charge, according to the Brevard-Seminole State Attorneys Office.

The indictment comes months after June 3, when police said they found Samantha Feliciano Rivera, 24, dead inside an apartment at the Stonebrook Apartment complex. Police said they arrived at the scene after receiving a 911 call from a man who said “something bad happened.”

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

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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.”

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According to the arrest report, Cruz-Perez waited four hours after Rivera stopped breathing to call 911. 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.

A small child was also found sleeping inside the home, according to a report. 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 without bond, 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,” Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith said. “Even with years of experience in law enforcement, any loss of young life is still shocking and gut wrenching.”

In the update from the state attorney’s office on Monday, officials said the grand jury heard testimony from a Sanford police investigator and the Seminole County medical examiner, who ruled the Rivera’s death a homicide by strangulation, before returning with their indictment.

No trial date has been set in the case.