Cops Arrest Husband & In-Laws After Discovering Florida Mom's Dismembered Body

Nicole Montalvo and her son

Friends say Nicole Montalvo, 33, was enjoying her new life when she mysteriously vanished on October 21. The mom from St. Cloud, Florida, had finally "broken free" from a toxic marriage, which had been plagued by domestic violence for years, and had even landed a new job. But soon after looking into her disappearance, cops began piecing together a disturbing story -- one that ultimately led to the arrest of both her ex-husband and in-laws, after finding her dismembered body.

  • On the day she disappeared, Montalvo was last seen heading out to drop off her son at the home of her estranged husband, Christopher Otero-Rivera, 31.

    But she never returned. 

    The following day, Montalvo's family reported her missing after she failed to pick up her son from school. Although a search of Otero-Rivera's property initially turned up nothing, another search two days later revealed Montalvo's shocking fate.

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  • Montalvo's body was recovered October 25 on two separate St. Cloud properties her husband owned.

    At the moment, police aren't revealing any details about how they believe Montalvo was killed. But they are sure of one thing: This wasn't a sudden crime of passion -- and it wasn't the lone act of one.

    “We do know other people involved in this,” Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson said at a press conference Friday. “It’s going to lead to more arrests. This [murder] was definitely planned, and when it took effect, people were contacted or involved in whatever role [with regard to] the remains.”

  • Otero-Rivera and his father, 61-year-old Angel Luis Rivera, were both arrested last week and charged with premeditated murder.

    Their arrests were soon followed by that of Otero-Rivera's brother, Nicholas Rivera, 28, who was declared a "person of interest." Although he has yet to be charged in connection to the murder, he is being held on eight counts of child porn.

    “We once spoke with him, and we were able to obtain his cellphone, and that’s how we got the information for the current charges of the child pornography,” Gibson said.

    On Monday, Otero-Rivera's mother, Wanda Rivera, 59, was also taken into custody. She faces charges of tampering with evidence and providing false statements to police during an interview.

  • During the press conference, Gibson shared his disgust over the senseless and gruesome murder.

    “I’m so angry what these people have done to this sweet woman, at a time in her life when she felt as though she had finally broken free and was so happy to have made her first month’s rent,” said Gibson, according to Fox 51. “Many times, victims of domestic violence don’t know how to break free, but she was out there on her own getting it done. Now she is dead.”

    After sharing that Montalvo had been dismembered, Gibson added that it was "probably the most gruesome murder scene that I have seen in my 32 years."

  • For now, police are awaiting autopsy results to learn more about how Montalvo was killed -- but questions as to why still loom.

    “It could be days or weeks to get results,” Major Jacob Ruiz of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office told People. “Because it wasn’t one body found intact, it takes more time for it to be determined.”

    As for the motive, Ruiz pointed to Otero-Rivera's known history of violence. His record of domestic violence-related charges involving Montalvo date back to 2016 -- and even include a 2018 charge of kidnapping, battery, and aggravated assault.

    “She was working two jobs and was happy to move forward with life, and this guy wasn’t letting her go," Ruiz shared. "He couldn’t let her move on with life. That weekend before she disappeared, she had just paid her rent had got a new apartment with her son.”

    Both Otero-Rivera and his father have yet to enter a plea for their charges, according to People.

    The young woman's family has since set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover funeral costs and support Montalvo's surviving son, Elijah. A description on the fundraising page explains:

    "We are committed to ensuring Elijah is raised in a loving, empathetic, and compassionate environment and is given every opportunity to succeed. Any funds donated will be managed directly by the Montalvo family and will focus on Elijah’s immediate and future needs, including legal, medical, and educational support. We are thankful for any donations, thoughts, prayers or messages during this incredibly difficult time. We are extremely grateful for the support of the community in the search for Nicole, and now pursuit of justice that she is deserving of."
    To date, the fund has raised over $25,000 in Montalvo's memory.