Man accused of stabbing girlfriend in head tells police “I’m sorry”

CASSELBERRY, Fla. — A man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death in Casselberry this week was stoic as he appeared before a Seminole County judge Thursday afternoon.


However, new body camera video released by Casselberry Police shows it was a different scene as they took 37-year-old Farel Torres into custody Wednesday.

Investigators said Torres stabbed his girlfriend, 34-year-old mother of two Vanessa Marie Santiago, in the head at her home on San Jose Circle.

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According to police, Torres then called 9-1-1 on himself to confess.

According to the police report, Torres kept saying “I’m sorry” as he was taken into custody.

That body camera video shows him uncontrollably sobbing as he was later taken to the Seminole County Jail.

Investigators said there was a history of domestic violence between Torres and Santiago.

Santiago was a mother to two children, one of whom she shared with Torres.

Police said they were called in March of this year, after Torres reportedly stole Santiago’s phone.

Santiago did not press charges at the time.

Casselberry police said in 2021 Seminole County deputies also filed a report that cited violence between the couple.

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Domestic Violence advocates said this case represents the worst case scenario which they try to help women avoid.

“When you’re working with a domestic violence service provider, like Harbor House, or Help Now or Safe House of Seminole. The likelihood that someone’s going to survive that domestic violence situation is so much higher, because she has someone on their side,” said Michelle Sperzel, the CEO of Harbor House of Central Florida.

According to some studies, it takes about seven attempts to leave an abusive relationship for good.

Sperzel said she frequently works with women trapped in cycles of abuse who feel forced to stay.

She said a number of external factors often contribute to why women stay, including financial pressure, housing concerns, and childcare.

Organizations like Harbor House can help women safely make getaway plans.

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If you or someone you know is suffering from Domestic Violence, there is help available.

Harbor House’s 24/7 Confidential Crisis Line: (407) 886-2856

Florida Domestic Violence Hotline :+1 (800) 500-1119

National Domestic Abuse Hotline: +1 (800) 799-7233

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