KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Testimony continued Wednesday in the murder trial for two men accused in the 2019 slaying and dismemberment of Nicole Montalvo.
Opening statements and testimony began Tuesday in the trial for Christopher Otero-Rivera and his father, Angel Rivera, who are charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Otero-Rivera’s estranged wife in Osceola County.
Montalvo, 33, was reported missing in October 2019 after she failed to pick up her 8-year-old son from school. Her dismembered remains were later found buried on property owned by the Riveras. Otero-Rivera and Montalvo had a son together, but they were separated at the time of her death.
The men are represented by separate attorneys, and on Tuesday, the defense for Otero-Rivera said the state’s evidence is circumstantial and pointed the finger at their client’s father.
“He was unquestionably the boss of the Rivera family,” a defense attorney said. “He controlled things. He manipulated things.”
Rivera’s attorney, meanwhile, did not offer an opening statement.
The state continued calling witnesses Wednesday including Nicholas Rivera, the brother and son of the suspects.
Nicholas Rivera testified that on the day his sister-in-law went missing he came outside of his parent’s St. Cloud home where he was living to a loud noise and saw someone washing off a cart.
“I remember seeing my father,” said Rivera. “I believe he was washing something.”
The home is not far from where his brother’s estranged wife Nicole Montalvo, was later found dead. Prosecutors questioned Rivera more about what he saw his dad using to wash the cart.
“I believe the hose, yes,” Rivera said.
Jurors also heard a recording from Angel Rivera when he spoke to an investigator in 2019. He told the investigator that Montalvo texted him shortly after she dropped off her son at his home before she was reported missing and she hinted that something was wrong.
“She was telling me I’m sorry, I made a mistake. I need a few days,” Angel Rivera told the investigator.
Christopher Otero-Rivera could be heard in a recording telling an investigator that for the most part he had a positive relationship with his estranged wife.
“That’s the thing, I don’t, we didn’t really communicate that much and when we did it wasn’t about problems,” said Christopher Otero-Rivera.
The defense challenged one investigator after prosecutors showed this video of a truck driving in the area of where Montalvo’s car was found, after prosecutors that it may have been one of the suspect’s vehicle.
“Can you make out the driver of vehicle or the registration? Can you make out the driver of the vehicle?” the attorney said. The investigator said, “No sir.”