OSCEOLA COUNTY, FL (WESH/WKMG/CNN) – Three suspects were arrested and charged in the murder of a Florida mother who had been mistaken for the intended target of a murder-for-hire plot.
Janice Zengotita-Torres was the innocent victim of a truly heinous murder, according to Osceola County Sheriff Russell Gibson.
"This woman lost her life for no reason – this mother, this wife, this daughter – for no reason at all,” Gibson said.
Zengotita-Torres’ body was found 91 miles from her home after she had been kidnapped and suffocated because of a “murder-for-hire” plot in which Ishnar Lopez Ramos hired Alexis Ramos Rivera and his girlfriend, Glorianmarie Quinones Montes, to help her kill a romantic rival, deputies say.
A woman who worked at the same store as Zengotita-Torres was the intended victim, but deputies say the suspects mistook Zengotita-Torres for the other woman and killed her instead.
Gibson says the suspects followed Zengotita-Torres home after she left work last Sunday night then accosted her, forcing her into the trunk of her own vehicle.
The suspects then drove the victim to an ATM and used her card to withdraw cash from her account, authorities say.
Afterward, Gibson says the suspects realized they had abducted the wrong person but decided to continue with their plan. They tied Zengotita-Torres up with zip ties and covered her head with a garbage bag before Rivera beat her until she was unconscious, according to authorities.
The victim died from suffocation because of the garbage bag, Gibson says.
“I get emotional because it touches me so deeply that one of our citizens was killed in such a manner over a mistake in identification, and in the end, it appears to be a lover's triangle. Wow,” Gibson said.
Zengotita-Torres’ body was found Monday morning where the suspects dumped it, officials say.
Authorities say Ramos was arrested Thursday night while using Zengotita-Torres' card to withdraw cash from an ATM. She was wearing Zengotita-Torres' clothing when she was arrested.
Ramos implicated Montes and Rivera, who were also arrested.
Gibson says all three confessed, confirming the murder-for-hire plot and that Zengotita-Torres was mistakenly targeted.
The suspects are each charged with first-degree murder and are being held without bond.
The woman who was the intended target of the murder-for-hire plot has been notified about the scheme against her but has denied protective services, deputies say.
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