Armando Botell, 66, is an older man with a nice car, an apparent affinity for the younger of the fair sex, and apparently had access to Xanax to try and coax at least one into sticking around. for two years. Armando had plied a then-15-year-old Romina Fernandez with the Xanax she longed for and then developed a sexual relationship with her. Over time, he became obsessed with her. At the tender age of 17, his obsession turned to murder.
Armando had already served time, although itâ€™s unclear how much time, for a murder in Hialeah, Florida back in 1980.
He had nude photos of her on his phone and admitted to a friend that heâ€™d become physically abusive toward her. Itâ€™s not immediately clear how many photos or just how abusive he had become while she was alive, but it culminated in her body being found alight in a Sweetwater, Florida dumpster last October and her being so badly burned that it required dental records to identify her.
Itâ€™s believed that Romina had become extremely emotionally distraught over his obsession with her. He had become so obsessed, it turns out, that he had hired a friend to stalk her…follow her everywhere. Her mother, Andrea Perez, had reported her missing on October 11, 2014.
While being interviewed by a local paper two weeks after the report was filed, Rominaâ€™s mother admitted she feared the worst. Sheâ€™d received a text message from her daughter that read, â€˜Hi mom, I'm OK. I'm moving to New York with a friend. Don't worry.â€™
â€œSomething about that message just wasn't right,â€ Ms. Perez had told the newspaper back in October. â€œI knew something was wrong.â€
Police say that Armando Botell's claims directly contradicted witness testimony and the cell phone tower records that placed him at the scene. The latter showed that the two were together just hours before her body was discovered. Surveillance footage even allegedly showed his Mercedes being used to dump her body.
He was arrestedand is being housed at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami. He was given no bond.