Mystery as woman found dead in burned-out car after daylight carjacking – as vehicle tied to another shooting

Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas, 31, was found dead after a brazen carjacking and now, a Florida sheriff says new details linking it to another murder are ‘right out of a television show’. Andrea Cavallier reports

Thursday 18 April 2024 17:42 BST
Video shows carjacking of Homestead woman in Central Florida

A Florida woman who was found dead in her torched car following a brazen carjacking in broad daylight called her husband to say she was being followed by another vehicle that was ramming her car from behind.

Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas, 31, made the frantic call about the green Acura following her on 11 April as she drove on a highway outside of Orlando,  Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said at a press conference on Monday.

Her husband, Miguel Aguasvivas, told her not to stop and just keep driving. But he never called 911, the sheriff said.

Moments later, in horrific video footage captured by another driver, Aguasvivas was stopped at a red light, at a busy intersection in Winter Springs, when a man in a mask got out of the Acura, and approached the driver’s side with a gun drawn.

Aguasvivas’ car was later found abandoned and burned. A body, believed to be hers, was inside.

Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas was abducted at gunpoint on 11 April
Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas was abducted at gunpoint on 11 April (Seminole County Sheriff’s Office)

Over the weekend, the green Acura that had been following her was located and linked to another murder – the fatal shooting of a tow-truck driver that happened on 10 April, just a day before the carjacking.

The bizarre developments spiraled further when a deputy from another sheriff’s office was arrested for disclosing information about Aguasvivas’ killing to her husband.

“This is right out of a television show, right?” Sheriff Lemma said as he provided the unsettling update.

“There’s a lot of bizarre circumstances here.”

Here’s what we know so far:

Dramatic video footage captures brazen carjacking

Harrowing video footage from a witness in the car behind the Acura captured Aguasvivas being dragged from her white Dodge Durango by the assailant.

The man approached and pointed a gun at her, opened the door to her car and climbed in. He then forced her to drive in an unknown direction at gunpoint, the sheriff said.

“You need to do something now because I don't know what's going on," the witness told authorities in a 911 call. “He was chasing the car, hit the car, got out of the car with a hood over his face and had a machine gun it looked like."

Video shows carjacking of Homestead woman in Central Florida

Aguasvivas’ Durango was found less than two hours later in a construction area. It was on fire and a body was found inside.

Authorities believe the body is Aguasvivas but are awaiting an official confirmation from DNA or dental records.

Aguasvivas, a native of the Dominican Republic, was a US citizen who lived with her husband in Homestead, Florida. She had only been in the US for five years when she was killed.

Acura in carjacking linked to tow-truck driver shooting

Two days after the carjacking, the green Acura was found abandoned at an Orange County apartment complex.

It was determined to be only one of three green Acuras registered in Florida, two of which were salvaged, the sheriff said.

The green Acura has been linked to a murder that happened a day before the carjacking
The green Acura has been linked to a murder that happened a day before the carjacking (Seminole County Sheriff’s Office)

Sheriff Lemma said a vehicle matching its description had been at the scene of the murder of 39-year-old tow truck driver Juan Luis Cintron Garcia – who was killed in a roadside shooting in Orange County just a day before Aguasvivas was killed.

“I absolutely think they’re connected but we’ll have to have physical evidence that absolutely proves that,” Sheriff Lemma said.

Deputy arrested after allegedly leaking information to victim’s husband

Francisco Alberto Estrella Chicon, 33, an Orange County deputy, a friend of the victim’s family, was arrested after he allegedly leaked information about the investigation to Aguasvivas’ husband.

He was arrested by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday night on several charges:

Deputy Francisco Alberto Estrella Chicon was arrested after leaking information in the case
Deputy Francisco Alberto Estrella Chicon was arrested after leaking information in the case (WFTV livestream grab)
  • Interception of wire, oral, or electronic communication
  • Disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communication
  • Disclosure or Use of Confidential Criminal Justice Information
  • Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device
  • Accessing Computer or Electronic Devices Without Authorization or Exceeding Authorization.

“What they had to gain is something that I’m incredibly interested in,” Sheriff Lemma said.

“Why would somebody do this? Why would they put their own job and life on the line to communicate with one of our detectives, to give an alias in the process? It’s incredibly frightening.”

The deputy, who has been with the department since September 2022, has been relieved of all duties, and will go without pay.

“These are very serious criminal allegations. It is completely unacceptable for any law enforcement officer to misuse the power and authority of their job,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said.

“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.”

Is the victim’s husband a suspect?

The sheriff’s office says Aguasvivas’ husband Miguel Aguasvivas has cooperated with authorities and is not currently a person of interest.

Despite this, Sheriff Lemma said he feels the husband hasn’t been entirely truthful.

“Quite frankly, I think he knows a lot more than what he shared,” the sheriff said.

“You don’t have your wife communicate with you that you’re getting rammed by a car and go two hours without calling anybody.”

Florida deputies investigating armed carjacking as homicide

Miguel Aguasvivas told authorities that his wife was travelling to see family when the carjacking happened.

“I think the initial story was that she was up here to visit family members. I don’t know that we believe that,” Sheriff Lemma said.

“I think that there’s a lot more blanks that he could help fill in about the circumstances involving this particular crime and now potentially other crimes.”

He said when Miguel Aguasvivas handed over his phone to authorities, it led to the discovery of Deputy Estrella’s involvement and eventually, his arrest.

Who was tow truck driver Juan Luis Cintron Garcia?

Juan Luis Cintron Garcia, 39, was killed in a roadside shooting just before 10pm on 10 April in the Taft neighborhood of Orlando, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Garcia was described by family and friends as a beloved husband, father, son, brother, and uncle.

“I would wake up every morning and go for my jog; he would always be the first to say hello,” neighbor Shirley Montana told local news outlets.

His loved ones said he leaves behind a legacy of “kindness,” “love,” and “passion.” A GoFundMe page has been created to assist the family with expenses.

A service is being held on Wednesday at the Good Life Funeral Home in Orlando.

‘It rocked our family’

Aguasvivas’ father was shocked and devastated when he found out what happened to his daughter.

“It rocked our family,” he said in Spanish to WPLG-TV.

“It was a big hit to our family because she always took care of all of us,” he said. “She never had problems with anyone.”

The heartbroken father said she was the mother of a six-year-old girl and was a college graduate, who was very smart.

“In Santo Domingo, she studied English at a young age,” he said. “In university, she graduated studying English for four years and continued studying and finished when she was 21 years old.”

He described Aguasvivas as caring and well-behaved, someone with many friends who had never had problems with anyone.

“We are trying to be strong to be able to go through this situation and ask people to pray and ask God so that there is clarity and for God to protect the children of other human beings that remain here on Earth,” he said.

He is asking those who have information to come forward and cooperate with law enforcement.

“Because today it was my daughter,” he said.

“Tomorrow, it can be the daughter of someone else.”

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