News

Homestead woman’s carjacking death unveils tangled web of drugs and murder beyond Florida

For shut to a few weeks, the circumstances surrounding the deadly ambush of a Homestead girl by a masked gunman at an intersection in a Central Florida neighborhood of manicured lawns and pool houses has remained shrouded in thriller.

The sequence of occasions — and its twisting threads — have developed virtually as if penned in a criminal offense novel, fascinating sleuths and true crime connoisseurs world wide. It all started with cellphone footage taken on April 11 by a motorist who witnessed the assault whereas stopped at a pink gentle at East Lake Drive and Tuskawilla Road in Seminole County.

READ MORE: Drugs, money and murder: A look at the probe into Homestead woman’s deadly carjacking

A person, coated from head to toe in black, was caught on video pointing a semiautomatic rifle on the driver’s aspect door of 31-year-old Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ white Dodge Durango. The hijacker then opened the rear driver’s aspect door and hopped into the SUV.

This embedded content material is just not out there in your area.

The Durango made a U-turn as quickly as the sunshine turned inexperienced. Hours later, Guerrero De Aguasvivas can be discovered shot to death inside her torched Durango at a Osceola County development website.

Many questions emerged; few solutions adopted.

Why was Guerrero De Aguasvivas in Central Florida? Was the ambush focused or random? Was the Homestead girl concerned in one thing sinister?

From the beginning of the investigation, Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma turned to the media, divulging particulars on leads and providing thorough updates in frequent information conferences. One of the primary main breaks: a inexperienced 2002 Acura, the one such make and mannequin in that colour in Florida.

A deluge of information ensued, unspooling a multi-threaded, coordinated assault on a seemingly unsuspecting Homestead girl.

An Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested, brokers found bricks of cocaine stuffed in a lamp shipped from Puerto Rico to Central Florida and three males thought-about to be individuals of curiosity have been detained, all on drug-related expenses. The sprawling investigation into Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ death now spans a number of counties and contains federal brokers and detectives from a number of sheriff’s workplaces.

The probe, although nowhere close to remaining, has uncovered a winding path of drugs, cash and murder linked to Florida and Puerto Rico — and a solid of characters beforehand recognized to legislation enforcement in numerous capacities.

Clearly, there’s a drugs and money nexus here,” Lemma mentioned.

An enigmatic sufferer

In life, Guerrero De Aguasvivas flashed a smile when surrounded by family members, celebrating birthdays and having fun with days out on the seashore, in response to video montages posted on her social media accounts.

A photo of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas posted on December 2023.A photo of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas posted on December 2023.

A photograph of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas posted on December 2023.

Yet she stays an elusive character in her personal story. Not a lot is understood about Guerrero De Aguasvivas — or how she’s tied to the alleged legal underworld. According to Lemma, the Homestead girl left her native Dominican Republic 5 years in the past. She was married to Miguel Angel Aguasvivas, who runs Miguelito Barber Shop in Florida City.

Miami Herald reporters went to the barber store, however a person sitting outdoors mentioned Aguasvivas wasn’t there. The enterprise, in response to state data, is registered below the identify of Aguasvivas’ mom.

For a minimum of a while, Aguasvivas’ spouse, the lady within the Durango labored on the Dominican Beauty Room Salon and Spa in Florida City. She turned a licensed nail tech in 2022. An indication on the skin of the salon, in a small strip mall on West Palm Drive, said: “No News Reporter At Job Site. Please Respect Our Privacy.”

A photo taken from across the street shows Dominican Beauty Room Salon and Spa, where Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas worked before she was murdered on April 11, 2024 in the Orlando area.A photo taken from across the street shows Dominican Beauty Room Salon and Spa, where Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas worked before she was murdered on April 11, 2024 in the Orlando area.

A photograph taken from throughout the road reveals Dominican Beauty Room Salon and Spa, the place Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas labored earlier than she was murdered on April 11, 2024 within the Orlando space.

As reporters stood studying the signal, a girl opened the door and demanded they depart. The salon is owned by the household of Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ sister-in-law.

Reporters additionally went to an residence on Southwest 142nd Avenue linked to Guerrero De Aguasvivas, however nobody answered the door. The balcony was nonetheless adorned with strings of Christmas lights, and there was a Christmas-themed mat outdoors the entrance door. At least two cameras have been put in in entrance of the unit.

A neighbor mentioned he hasn’t seen anybody come and go from the third-story residence in months.

The secrecy surrounding Guerrero De Aguasvivas is compounded by the silence of family members. Friends and household have posted tributes for her on their social media pages, although none have responded to the Miami Herald’s requests for feedback.

The Homestead woman’s on-line exercise affords a uncommon however restricted glimpse into aspects of her life. Guerrero De Aguasvivas, in response to her Facebook, presumably has two kids, together with a 5-year-old daughter. She has not publicly posted photographs of her and Aguasvivas — apart from just a few on an X account that hasn’t been lively for a decade — regardless of the couple’s relationship courting again to a minimum of 2013.

A photo from the wedding of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas, left, and Miguel Angel Aguasvivas, right.A photo from the wedding of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas, left, and Miguel Angel Aguasvivas, right.

A photograph from the marriage of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas, left, and Miguel Angel Aguasvivas, proper.

In a number of posts, she detailed how a lot she appreciated being a mom.

“I have done something good in this life to deserve having a daughter like you,” she mentioned in Spanish on Facebook. “…I love you with all my heart, my soul, with the smallest cell that can exist inside of me. Only you have awakened in me feelings and emotions that I didn’t know existed.”

The finish? ‘Far from it’

As detectives have pieced collectively the ultimate moments of Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ life, the aftermath of the brutal slaying has been marked by odd twists and conflicting narratives.

One of the primary peculiar revelations: She by no means known as 911, regardless of having a cellphone on her within the automobile. According to Sheriff Lemma, Guerrero De Aguasvivas as a substitute opted to name her husband when she seen {that a} automobile was tailing her.

“Don’t stop, don’t stop, anywhere,” he suggested her.

Aguasvivas additionally later informed investigators that his spouse was touring to Central Florida to go to family members. Family within the space, nevertheless, mentioned they weren’t anticipating a go to. From the bounce, Lemma informed reporters he was “skeptical” of Aguasvivas’ cooperation.

A photo of Miguel Angel Aguasvivas, the husband of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas.A photo of Miguel Angel Aguasvivas, the husband of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas.

A photograph of Miguel Angel Aguasvivas, the husband of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas.

But solutions about why Guerrero De Aguasvivas was in Central Florida adopted. Her brother, Luis Fernando Abreu, mentioned he realized she was within the space to “deliver money and other stuff for a friend,” after doing his personal digging, Lemma mentioned.

Through an iCloud account, Abreu contacted Giovany Joel Crespo Hernandez, who seems to be one of the final individuals Guerrero De Aguasvivas spoke to as she was driving on I-4 round downtown Orlando.

Abreu known as the quantity by FaceTime, screenshotted the person’s picture and despatched it to Seminole County detectives. Investigators ran that picture by a police database, and it virtually 100% matched a mugshot taken of 27-year-old Crespo Hernandez throughout a 2019 arrest in Orange County, Orlando’s house county.

Lemma’s newest principle concerning the purpose for Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ drive from Homestead is that she was assembly with Crespo Hernandez, who has since been arrested on state drug trafficking expenses. The GPS route she was taking signifies that she was headed to his house, lower than three miles from the place she was carjacked.

Though in a roundabout way related to Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ carjacking, Crespo Hernandez’s live-in girlfriend Monicsabel Romero Soto, 28, is going through federal cocaine expenses after allegedly choosing up a package deal with three bricks of cocaine tucked inside a lamp.

The inexperienced Acura related to Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ deadly kidnapping is related to the taking pictures death of tow truck driver Juan Luis Cintron Garcia, 39, only a day earlier than in Orange County. At each murder scenes, dozens of spent 10-mm bullets have been discovered.

The inexperienced Acura, police say, was towed by Cintron Garcia from an Orange County residence complicated on March 11.

The green Acura sedan from which the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office say the carjacker emerged.The green Acura sedan from which the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office say the carjacker emerged.

The inexperienced Acura sedan from which the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office say the carjacker emerged.

Police traced the uncommon automobile again to its proprietor, 28-year-old Jordanish Torres-Garcia, who’s accused of being the masked carjacker. Kevin Omar Ocasio-Justiniano, 28, is suspected of being behind the wheel of the Acura in the course of the ambush.

The complicated web of murder, drugs and cash is why federal businesses, together with the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, are taking up the probe.

“The arrest of these four individuals does not mark the end of this investigation,” Roger Handberg, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, informed reporters throughout a latest briefing. “Far from it.”

Lengthy historical past with the feds

The query of who was behind the carjacking is one of the few that not lingers. Investigators say the masked man was Torres-Garcia — and that he outright confessed, in response to a grievance.

But Torres-Garcia spun a weird yarn when speaking to FBI brokers. He claimed that half an hour earlier than the kidnapping, he met with somebody close to the realm of Lake Drive in Seminole County who gave him an AR-15 rifle and $1,500 to ship Guerrero De Aguasvivas to “another individual,” the grievance says.

READ MORE: Man admits he was paid to kidnap Homestead woman in Central Florida, FBI says

That individual wasn’t named within the doc, although it’s unclear if Torres-Garcia supplied a reputation.

Jordanish Torres-GarciaJordanish Torres-Garcia

Jordanish Torres-Garcia

The carjacking investigation isn’t his first run-in with federal brokers.

In 2015, Puerto Rican drug unit detectives discovered Torres-Garcia in an San Juan residence with two pistols, a rifle, dozens of rounds of ammunition and attire with police branding. He pleaded responsible to a federal gun cost in 2016 and was sentenced to a few years in jail adopted by three years of probation.

At the time of the kidnapping, Torres-Garcia was nonetheless on probation. He was accused of violating his probation twice: as soon as in 2019 for not reporting to a midway home after his launch from federal jail in Central Florida, and once more, in 2022, after he was arrested by Orlando police for alleged stalking.

Torres-Garcia’s ex and the mom of his baby informed police he spammed her with calls and fired a gun into her yard when she didn’t reply, in response to courtroom data. The state case was dismissed, although his federal probation was prolonged till 2025.

A transcript from Torres-Garcia’s 2016 sentencing sheds extra gentle into his previous. The then-21-year-old was a troubled youth, shuffling in and out of juvenile establishments for the reason that age of 16. His protection legal professional argued that some of his legal historical past — which included a housebreaking cost and an assault conviction for hitting one other inmate — was a “product of his immaturity.”

A copy of Jordanish Torres-Garcia’s criminal record in Puerto Rico.A copy of Jordanish Torres-Garcia’s criminal record in Puerto Rico.

A replica of Jordanish Torres-Garcia’s legal report in Puerto Rico.

“Most… of his life he’s been under incarceration,” the legal professional mentioned, in response to the transcript. “He has had no opportunity to be in a community and to develop as a mature adult.”

When weighing Torres-Garcia’s attainable sentence, the decide thought-about how he obtained a GED, underwent psychological well being therapy and took just a few nursing courses at John Dewey University in Puerto Rico. He requested prosecutors if they’d any proof of Torres-Garcia’s involvement in carjackings, robberies, murders or drug offenses earlier than requesting that he handle the courtroom.

Torres-Garcia, seemingly expressing regret, mentioned he “ignorantly” had weapons on him “out of anger because I had lost a relative.”

“I’m repentant of the things that I have done and I have learned many things in the time that I have been detained and I don’t want to get into any more trouble,” he mentioned, in response to the transcript.

A gang affiliation?

While law-enforcement authorities have alluded to the carjacking being related to a drug trafficking community, there have been no established connections to gangs or organized crime teams — till brokers narrowed in on Ocasio-Justiniano.

Ocasio-Justiniano, who additionally goes by “Kevo,” is a recognized drug seller and member of the 6’s gang in Orlando, in response to a grievance filed in federal courtroom. It stays unclear how the accused getaway driver got here to the eye of brokers in the course of the carjacking probe.

READ MORE: Two facing federal charges in connection to Homestead woman’s carjacking, murder, cops say

He was picked up in Puerto Rico, the place he’s being held on an unrelated federal automated weapons possession and drug trafficking warrant.

According to the grievance, detectives witnessed Ocasio-Justiniano driving off in a teal Acura MDX from a Central Florida house that was being staked out as a goal in a 2022 DEA investigation. Some time later, he met with a street-level drug seller, who confirmed brokers dozens of luggage of cocaine and fentanyl in addition to “hot shot hits,” a mixture of cocaine and fentanyl, given to him by Ocasio-Justiniano.

Ocasio-Justiniano was additionally surveilled at a infamous stash home within the Orlando space. Investigators detained him, the submitting says, and discovered luggage of cocaine and fentanyl an identical to the drugs bought by the 6’s. A .40 caliber Glock with an “auto sear,” which makes the firearm a completely automated machine gun, was noticed, tucked away inside a automobile.

Kevin Omar Ocasio-JustinianoKevin Omar Ocasio-Justiniano

Kevin Omar Ocasio-Justiniano

When requested concerning the drugs, Ocasio-Justiniano mentioned he hangs round individuals who use them, the doc states. He initially denied realizing concerning the gun, although he later admitted to utilizing it.

Ocasio-Justiniano has been on police’s radar previously, too, courtroom data present.

He was arrested in August 2022 on a slew of expenses that embrace housebreaking, assault and false imprisonment, after his ex accused him of breaking into her house, slapping her and pointing a gun at a number of individuals. The couple had damaged up, and Ocasio-Justiniano had moved out.

The ex-girlfriend mentioned he informed her that she “better move because he will always be around and he will make her life a living hell.” The case was dismissed after one of the victims signed a sworn assertion declining prosecution.

In March that very same 12 months, Ocasio-Justiniano was charged with battery, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer after allegedly beating two males within the head with a bottle within the VIP part of an Orlando membership. Police say Ocasio-Justiniano turned irate after the lads, regulars on the membership, unknowingly crossed over to his part.

Ocasio-Justiniano entered a no contest plea in January 2023, data present. He was discovered responsible and was ordered to finish three years of probation.

His solely drug-related cost was in 2020, after police pulled him over in a 2004 black Acura and found that he had 4 oxycodone tablets and marijuana on him. Ocasio-Justiniano entered a plea and was launched with time served after spending 59 days in jail.

Cocaine bricks, 2 Glocks and $13K in money

As the case developed, it rapidly turned obvious that there’s extra to the story — and that it stems beyond Central Florida. Many of the individuals related to Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ destiny have hyperlinks to Puerto Rico.

However, Crespo Hernandez is the one individual of curiosity with established ties to South Florida.

Giovany Joel Crespo HernandezGiovany Joel Crespo Hernandez

Giovany Joel Crespo Hernandez

Crespo Hernandez, in response to a grievance, was the goal of a 2020 Homeland Security probe within the Miami space that led to brokers seizing greater than $300,000. He’s additionally a recognized member of a drug trafficking group and an individual of curiosity in “a series of home invasions and homicide investigations.”

READ MORE: Arrests made in investigation into Homestead woman’s deadly carjacking

The identify of the trafficking group wasn’t included within the doc. There aren’t any public courtroom data associated to the 2020 federal inquiry, and it’s unclear why Crespo Hernandez wasn’t charged.

When detectives searched his Seminole County house in March, they positioned fentanyl, greater than $13,000 in money, two Glock firearms, a number of cellphones and costly jewellery, the submitting states. A Toyota within the driveway had a “trap” house throughout the automobile, a ploy utilized by traffickers to cover drugs.

At left, a firearm and money were found in a pouch in the Casselberry, Florida, home of Monicsabel Romero Soto and Giovany Joel Crespo Hernandez, federal agents say. At right, a trap space was found inside the Toyota found in the home’s driveway, agents say. Investigators believe the couple may be connected to the deadly carjacking of 31-year-old Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas, a Homestead woman.At left, a firearm and money were found in a pouch in the Casselberry, Florida, home of Monicsabel Romero Soto and Giovany Joel Crespo Hernandez, federal agents say. At right, a trap space was found inside the Toyota found in the home’s driveway, agents say. Investigators believe the couple may be connected to the deadly carjacking of 31-year-old Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas, a Homestead woman.

Crespo Hernandez is being held with out bond on state fentanyl trafficking and marijuana with intent to promote expenses. He’s presently not going through expenses in connection to Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ carjacking.

His live-in girlfriend, Romero Soto, was arrested by federal brokers in April after they are saying she took supply of three bricks of cocaine — value $60,000 — that have been present in a lamp in a package deal despatched from Puerto Rico to a St. Cloud house in Osceola County. She, holding her 3-month outdated daughter on her hip, had picked up the lamp and was stopped by federal brokers.

READ MORE: Bricks of cocaine found in lamp offer clue into a Homestead woman’s deadly carjacking

A Homeland Security agent testified in courtroom that there was a thriving drug enterprise on the couple’s house — and that packages had been delivered to the St. Cloud handle below names related to Romero Soto since 2021.

Monicsabel Romero SotoMonicsabel Romero Soto

Monicsabel Romero Soto

A decide ordered Romero Soto, who moved to Central Florida from Puerto Rico in 2018, launched from detention final week as a result of she wasn’t a flight threat — regardless of proof of “a substantial, long-running criminal enterprise,” the decide famous at her listening to.

Attorney Susan Malove argued that Romero Soto “is very concerned” about her kids, ages 3 months and 10, and will adjust to courtroom orders to regain custody of them. The kids are below the supervision of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Deputy is first domino to fall

In a wierd twist, one of the primary clues within the puzzling lethal carjacking was the arrest of Orange County Deputy Francisco Estrella Chicon, who’s accused of illegally accessing the non-public and skilled profile data of the lead Seminole County detective on the case.

Using a bogus identify, Estrella Chicon known as the lead investigator and mentioned he was a detective in Orange County — and a cousin of Guerrero De Aguasvivas, in response to an arrest report. He mentioned he was calling as a result of he was involved about his cousin and requested how the case was progressing.

READ MORE: Orlando-area deputy’s arrest links him to husband of carjacked, murdered Homestead woman: cops

The Seminole County detective informed Estrella Chicon she couldn’t focus on the case with him, but in addition requested if he knew why Guerrero De Aguasvivas was within the space, the report says. He responded that he didn’t know as he wasn’t in common contact together with her.

About 5 minutes after getting off the cellphone, Estrella Chicon despatched a recording of that dialog on WhatsApp to the Homestead woman’s husband, in response to courtroom paperwork. Estrella Chicon’s spouse is Aguasvivas’ childhood good friend.

Orange County Deputy Francisco Estrella ChiconOrange County Deputy Francisco Estrella Chicon

Orange County Deputy Francisco Estrella Chicon

Estrella Chicon was employed in September 2022. He has been relieved of all legislation enforcement duties with out pay whereas the legal case is below method.

“These are very serious criminal allegations. It is completely unacceptable for any law enforcement officer to misuse the power and authority of their job,” Sheriff John Mina mentioned. “At the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, we hold our deputies to the highest ethical standards, and we will not tolerate anyone breaking the law within our ranks.”

Sitting beside his legal professional in a go well with and tie, Estrella Chicon informed reporters that he answered a call from Abreu — Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ brother — and felt compelled to assist him.

“Somehow they’ve implicated myself with all these heinous crimes,” Estrella Chicon mentioned. “…I just want to get my life back.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button