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When Maria Del Carmen Martinez returned to her Hialeah apartment Friday night, police said she was alarmed to find the front door open. So she called police.
But they couldn’t get there soon enough.
The man Martinez had broken up with a few months ago was waiting inside, armed with a knife. He ambushed, repeatedly stabbed and killed her, police said. Then he fled.
A short while later, Hialeah police learned of a crash near Medley involving a car similar to the one witnesses said Robert Esteban Rivero-Diaz fled in. A detective trailed an ambulance carrying him to the hospital.
“He spontaneously uttered to a detective who went to visit him in the hospital, ‘Is she dead or is she alive?’” Hialeah police spokesman Carl Zogby said. “He was distraught over a breakup. She wouldn’t take his calls. She was ignoring him.”
Rivero-Diaz, 51, was charged with first-degree murder and armed burglary. He was booked into the Pre-Trial Detention Center in downtown Miami and denied bond.
Police said the couple lived together at a Hialeah apartment and broke up earlier this year. They said Rivero-Diaz has a Spanish passport and arrived in the U.S. in December 2016. He met Martinez in February.
According to police, just before 10 p.m. last Friday Rivero-Diaz used a crowbar to break into Martinez’s apartment, No. 2 at 390 E. 16th St. in Hialeah. He armed himself with a knife and waited inside.
Later in the hospital, Rivero-Diaz “admitted to breaking into victim’s apartment, arming himself with a knife, confronting victim, chased her, then fled the scene inside the car he crashed,” the arresting officer wrote in Rivero-Diaz’s arrest affidavit.
Police said they found the murder weapon inside the car.