Convicted killer Angel Rivera dies in prison from COVID complications, family says

Rivera sentenced in July to life in prison for murder of Nicole Montalvo

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – One of two men sentenced to life in prison for the murder of mother Nicole Montalvo has died in prison due to complications from COVID-19, according to his family.

Prison records confirm Angel Rivera is deceased.

Rivera, the father of Christopher Otero-Rivera, died two months after being sentenced for the October 2019 murder of his son’s estranged wife. Rivera’s family told News 6 he died Wednesday of COVID-19 complications.

The father and son were found guilty of second-degree murder, abuse of a body and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Montalvo, 33.

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The judge sentenced the two to life in prison for second-degree murder and for the two other counts, the two were given sentences of 15 years and 5 years. Before delivering the sentence, the judge said he could not “ignore the brutality” and the pain the murder brought to the family as they searched for Montalvo in 2019.

Osceola Sheriff awaiting governor's decision on Nicole Montalvo case

Montalvo 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 Nicole Montalvo had a son together, but they were separated at the time of her death. The two were going through a divorce when she dropped their son off at her father-in-law’s house.

The prosecution said during closing arguments that the evidence proved the two men were guilty while the defense said that if Montalvo had been murdered on the Riveras’ property on Hixon Avenue in St. Cloud, more blood would have been found.

After the guilty verdict earlier this year, Montalvo’s brother said justice was served but at the end of the day, the heartbreaking truth is that their siblings still don’t have their sister and her son still doesn’t have his mother.

“I think that he got off easy too soon, and that made me cry,” said Giulio Rivera.

Rivera said he received a call on Thursday morning informing him of his father’s death in prison.

He told News 6 he wanted to apologize to the Montalvo family for the pain his father caused.

He also fought back tears has he remembered the paid he said his father caused him.

“After everything I’ve been through with that man -- I’m not evil,” he said. “(People) can look at me like I’m the son of a killer all they want to, but know that I am not him. I’m sorry.”

Otero-Rivera is currently housed at the Central Florida Reception Center, where his father was also housed.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, there were currently 165 inmates who tested positive for COVID-19. A spokesman said that was down from 261 cases two weeks ago.

The Florida prison system has relaxed its rules on mask-wearing.

About the Authors:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.