‘Smelled like death’: Woman recalls night after slain St. Cloud mother disappeared

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A woman who rented a room on a property owned by the father-in-law of a slain St. Cloud woman told investigators she smelled something horrible the night after the woman disappeared.

Investigators said the remains of Nicole Montalvo were found on property that belongs to her estranged husband’s family in October.

The girlfriend of Christopher Otero-Rivera, Montalvo’s estranged husband, said Rivera approached her about getting rid of Montalvo.The girlfriend of Otero-Rivera shared what she saw the day Montalvo disappeared.

READ MORE: Letters from jail, other evidence released in slain St. Cloud mother investigation

“I do remember seeing them loading a bulldozer onto a Haul or Uhaul, or what you call it, later that day,” she told investigators.

The woman said heavy equipment Otero-Rivera and Rivera used was hauled away.

She said earlier in the day, the couple’s young son was kept away when he was usually with the men while they worked.

Then later that night, the woman said she smelled something awful.

“I woke up to something that smelled like death. You know, I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I’m saying it smelled so bad that I was going to open my window,” the woman told investigators.

READ MORE: State Attorney’s Office releases new documents in slain St. Cloud mother’s murder investigation

The woman also told investigators Rivera talked to her about “taking care” of Montalvo in order to ensure they would have custody of Montalvo and Otero-Rivera’s son.

“I took that as he wanted me to do something to her. He didn’t want her in the picture anymore. Like hurt her. Kill her. Hurt her. Missing her, put her somewhere,” she said.

Otero-Rivera’s brother, Nicholas Rivera, told officials that he saw Montalvo dead in the garage and with blood by her neck.

While investigators did find blood in the garage, they concluded it didn’t belong to Montalvo or Otero-Rivera.

Christopher Otero-Rivera and her father-in-law Angel Rivera were arrested, but never charged for her murder.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala said a major flaw in the case is the lack of evidence and that is why she did not file formal murder charges against Otero-Rivera and Rivera.

She wrote in a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis that she believes the Osceola sheriff rushed the investigation to boost his re-election.

The case is now in the hands of State Attorney Brad King.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.