KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Testimony continued Thursday in the murder trial for two men accused in the 2019 slaying and dismemberment of Nicole Montalvo.
Opening statements and testimony began this week 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.
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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 in Osceola County 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 went outside his parents’ St. Cloud home, where he was living, and heard a loud noise and saw someone washing off a cart. The home is not far from where Montalvo was later found dead.
“I remember seeing my father,” Rivera said. “I believe he was washing something.”
Prosecutors questioned Rivera more about what he saw his dad using to wash the cart.
“I believe the hose, yes,” Rivera said.
Recordings of Otero-Rivera and Angel Rivera, in interviews with investigators, were also played Wednesday at trial.
Jurors heard from forensic technicians with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, who walked the jury through the moments they found Nicole Montalvo’s body.
The first forensic technician to testify described finding a piece of fleshy material, when they were photographing the scene.
She described a foul odor that was present and said flies surrounded that area.
The tech described what they found and saw as they worked to gather evidence in, at the time, what was the missing person case of Montalvo.
Investigators said Montalvo’s dismembered remains were found in 2019 on Rivera’s property, and now the trial is underway after her estranged husband, Christopher Otero – Rivera and his father, Angel Rivera, are charged with second-degree murder.
Later in the afternoon, jurors heard from a detective that was involved in the case and described the process of taking the remains that were found to a lab for DNA testing.
Testimony was also given by a forensic DNA analyst who talked about the process of identifying the remains.
The trial is expected to resume at 9 a.m. on Friday.