An American mother has been kidnapped and killed in a devastating case of mistaken identity tied to a love-triangle, authorities say.
The body of 42-year-old Florida woman Janice Marie Zengotita-Torres was found at Ormond Beach on January 8 after she was reported missing by her husband. But police allege Mrs Zengotita-Torres was caught in a murder-for-hire plot gone awry—and was not the intended victim.
As NBC News reports, authorities say 35-year-old Ishnar Lopez-Ramos hired Alexis Ramos-Rivera, 22, and his girlfriend Glorianmarie Quinones-Montes, also 22, to murder a woman in a relationship with a man she was in love with.
But the suspects allegedly mistook Mrs Zengotita-Torres for their intended target and followed her home from a shopping centre on January 8. They then allegedly kidnapped her, forced her into her car and withdrew money from her ATM card.
Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson said Lopez-Ramos and Ramos-Rivera “realized that they had mistakingly taken the wrong person" when they entered the victim’s apartment.
“However, the suspects continued with their plan of murder and allegedly tied the victim with zip ties and then [covered] her head in duct tape and garbage bags,” Gibson alleges.
As PEOPLE reports, Mrs Zengotita-Torres was allegedly beaten until she was unconscious and driven to Ormond Beach, where her body was dumped. Police say the victim died of suffocation.
The three suspects continued using Mrs Zengotita-Torres' ATM card, which led police to the arrest of Lopez-Ramos. She then gave a “full confession” that resulted in the arrest of the two others.
“All three confirmed that this was a murder-for-hire and the victim was mistakenly, again mistakenly, targeted and murdered,” Gibson said.
Lopez-Ramos, Ramos-Rivera, and Quinones-Montes are facing face first-degree premeditated murder charges.