Neighbor recalls ‘explosion’ shortly before woman’s burned body found

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — As deputies continue to search for the assailants who carjacked and kidnapped a South Florida woman in Seminole County, neighbors near the spot where her body was found Thursday night were shocked to hear it ended within sight of their homes.


“I saw some heavy smoke coming from across the street,” Melissa Soto recalled. “No ambulance, no nothing was here at the scene yet. All of a sudden, I heard like an explosion.”

Soto and others said they had little indication anything was seriously wrong until deputies started arriving with forensics vans.

Read: Woman missing after armed carjacking believed to be dead, Seminole County sheriff says

The site where Katherine Aguasvivas’ life ended was the back of a newly cleared construction site off Boggy Creek road. The driveway to the site is barely noticeable to passing cars, and the shooting that took her life and the burning car would’ve been out of sight of neighbors.

That led Sheriff Dennis Lemma to speculate that the assailants knew about the site ahead of time and planned to bring Aguasvivas to it.

He said in a press conference Friday that Aguasvivas was clearly targeted, though the motive for the entire crime spree remained under investigation.

Read: ‘I miss her so much’: Madeline Soto’s biological father speaks out about death, disappearance

“The perpetrators knew exactly who they’re going after,” Lemma said.

However, neighbors were left unsettled by the sight of deputies searching nearby empty homes for signs of what happened to the kidnappers once they killed Aguasvivas.

“He could be anywhere,” Soto said. “He could be hiding somewhere, and I have my daughter here playing outside.”

Read: Man found guilty of second-degree murder of his stepmother and her unborn child

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