Domestic Violence Gone Too Far: When the System Fails

Cases of domestic violence run ramped across the country.  Sadly, despite the many women, children, and in some cases men who report these acts, the system often fails innocent victims.  Despite having Protection from Abuse or Restraining orders, many victims continue to live in fear as such orders are merely a piece of paper.  A Florida woman has become another statistic in a senseless slaughter, leaving her young son an orphan.

The victim is 33-year-old Nicole Montalvo, who’s life was prematurely snuffed out after suffering years of domestic violence.  Although, she finally broke free from her abuser and was flourishing on her own, the abuser took back control in the form of her life.

The young mom was first reported missing after failing to pick her son up from school, despite being the one to drop him off.  Later in the week, human remains were recovered from property owned by her estranged in laws.  It was quickly confirmed that the remains recovered were indeed Montalvo’s.  Police reported that her remains were in abhorrent condition, degraded to the point that no cause of death was able to be readily determined.

Suspects in the case where arrested when Nicole’s body was discovered.  The names have been released with the primary suspect being Christopher Othero-Rivera, Montalvo’s 31-year-old estranged husband and the father of her child.  The second suspect was Montalvo’s estranged father-in-law, 63-year-old Angel Luis Rivera.  Both suspects are facing charges for premeditated murder and remain in Osceola County Jail without bond.

Montalvo’s remains were found in poor condition being described as “disassembled.”  An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death of the dismembered victim.  Results will likely be available next week.

As is common with many cases of domestic violence, this was not the first incident.  There had been a consistent pattern of severe abuse that culminated into this one last heinous act that resulted in the death of the victim.  Even though Montalvo had already filed for divorce, her abuser was not ready to let her get away so easily.

Law enforcement was aware of prior abuse as a restraining order had been filed as early as 2016, for an attack perpetrated against the couple’s five-year-old son.  Previously, Otero-Rivera had been involuntarily committed to a hospital due to being a danger to himself or others. 

He seemed to have a laundry list of incidents reported against him, with his estranged wife already facing dire circumstances of danger in October of 2018.  Otero-Rivera, lured her into a secluded area under the guise of needing help where he and a female accomplice proceeded to pull her from her car, assaulting her by attempting to break her neck while she was gagged.

Despite being a repeat offender of domestic violence, a plea deal was accepted leaving the perpetrator off the hook for serious charges of kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault.  He received a mere slap on the hand for a few minor charges.  Thus, he only served a short eight months behind bars and was ordered to wear an ankle bracelet while completing two years of probation.  Legally, Othero-Rivera was not even permitted to contact Montalvo except via a special arrangement through a parenting cellphone app relating to issues involving their child. At the end of the day, Montalvo was another sad story of a flawed system, allowing offenders of domestic violence a misdemeanor and a slap on the hand.  Sadly, this story escalated to foul play with an orphaned child.