OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A judge denied bond for three people that were arrested in connection to the alleged kidnapping and killing of an Osceola County, Florida woman.
The victim, Janice Marie Zengotita-Torres, 42, of Kissimmee, was mistakenly targeted in what investigators are calling a murder-for-hire plot, stemming from complications over a love triangle.
The body of Zengotita-Torres was located in Volusia County on Tuesday, 24 hours after she was reported missing by her family, according to Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson.
During a news conference on Friday, Sheriff Gibson explained that Zengotita-Torres was an innocent target, having been abducted in apartment complex parking lot. Deputies say Zengotita-Torres never returned home from work late Sunday night and into early Monday morning. Her husband reported her missing after she did not return, and authorities later found her body over 80 miles away, along the side of a road in Ormond Beach.
"I can share with you that Janice was the target of an intentional act, a senseless act of violence, where she was robbed of her life," an emotional Sheriff Gibson said.
According to investigators, Ishnar Marie Lopez-Ramos, 35, wanted to kill a woman who was in a relationship with a man she had romantics feelings for, so she hired Alexis Ramos-Rivera and his girlfriend, Glorianmarie Quinones Montes, both 22, to do the deed.
Investigators said the victim's accused abductors mistook Zengotita-Torres for another woman. Both women work together at the ROSS Dress for Less at the Loop in Kissimmee. The suspects, followed the wrong woman, Zengotita-Torres, as she left work Sunday night.
"The suspects followed the victim to her apartment, and in the parking lot, they forcibly put the victim into the back of her own vehicle, and then drove away," Sheriff Gibson explained.
The kidnappers then forced Zengotita-Torres to give them her ATM card and password, so they could withdraw money from her account. Detectives said the kidnappers eventually discovered that they had the wrong woman but still proceeded with their heinous plans.
"The suspects continued with their plan of murder and tied the victim with zip ties, and then her head in duct tape and garbage bags," said Gibson.
Gibson said Zengotita-Torres attempted to fight back but was struck multiple times, which left her unconscious. The suspects eventually drove to Volusia County, where they dumped her body.
"The suspects showed no regard for the victim, causing her to die from suffocation, because the garbage bags were wrapped around her head," Gibson added. "The suspects then traveled back to Orlando, where they dumped the victim's vehicle in Orange County, near Holden Avenue."
The suspects continued to use the victim's ATM card, Gibson said. Undercover detectives from the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, the Ormond Beach Police Department, the Kissimmee Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, and the Orlando Police Department all participated in the investigation, staking out area ATMs, in the hopes of finding them.
Lopez-Ramos was nabbed following a series of transactions. She was taken into custody, and she led them to the other two suspects in the case.
"All three confirmed that this was a murder fo hire and that the victim was mistakenly targeted and murdered," said Sheriff Gibson.
All three suspects are now charged with first-degree murder.
Gibson said Zengotita-Torres had moved to Florida from Puerto Rico a year ago, along with her mother, her husband, and their 14-year-old son. She was starting a new life in Osceola County.
"The husband and the family, at this time, are grieving over the loss of a wife, mother and daughter. They were remarkable, strong and instrumental in catching the suspects."