KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Florida say the wrong person was killed last Sunday in a botched murder-for-hire plot set up by a scorned woman.
Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson told news outlets that Ishnar Marie Lopez, 35, was upset that a "man she loved" was in a relationship with another woman. So she hired Alexis Ramos, 35, and his girlfriend, Glorianmarie Quinones Montes, 22, to kill the woman.
Gibson said the couple tracked down a woman they believed to be the target as she left a Ross Dress For Less store at a mall in Kissimmee, near Orlando, on Sunday night. They followed Janice Zengotita-Torres home and forced her into the back of her car. They drove her to an apartment in Orlando. They eventually realized they had the wrong person.
"However, the suspects continued with their plan of murder and tied the victim with zip ties and then (covered) her head in duct tape and garbage bags," Gibson said.
The sheriff said Ramos then beat the woman, who suffocated because of the garbage bags on her head.
They drove the woman's vehicle to Ormond Beach, on Florida's Atlantic coast, either Sunday night or early Monday. They dumped her body and cable workers found it on Monday morning. Gibson said they abandoned the vehicle in Orange County.
The Orlando Sentinel reports Zengotita-Torres' family reported her missing Monday morning.
Lopez, the woman who arranged the plot, was arrested on Friday when she tried to use an ATM card. Ramos and his girlfriend were later arrested at a hotel near Orlando, Gibson said. He said all three confessed.
The sheriff said investigators contacted the intended victim and offered protective services, but she declined.
Gibson became emotional during a news conference, choking up as he talked about the victim, who came to Kissimmee with her husband, teenage son and mother.
"She was the target of a senseless act of violence in which she was robbed of her life," he said.
Gibson said the suspects had moved to central Florida from Puerto Rico in December.
They are being held in the Osceola County Jail on murder charges. No lawyers are listed on jail records.