ONTARIO – No criminal charges will be filed against the two adult children of a woman who reportedly stabbed her ex-boyfriend to death and dismembered his body, San Bernardino County prosecutors said Friday.
The mother of Daniel Ortiz, 25, and Chanel Alicia Ortiz, 26, has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder in the death of Samuel Wiggins Jr., 63, who was last seen alive around April 20 but was reported missing by his family in early May, authorities say.
Carmen Montenegro, who police said also goes by the name of Montelongo, has been charged in Wiggins’ death. She was arrested after Ontario police were alerted she was wheeling his body parts down a city street in a 30-gallon trash can.
Montenegro’s children were arrested on suspicion of assisting their mother dispose of Wiggins’ remains. Deputy District Attorney Erica Gallegos said on Monday that both had been released from a San Bernardino County jail, probably on Friday.
Ontario police did not divulge why the two were not charged, but county spokeswoman Susan Mickey said charges could be filed in the future if investigators discover new evidence.
The exact name of the chief suspect, however, has still not been confirmed. Though charged under the name Montenegro, Gallegos said she believes the woman’s true last name is Montelongo. A judge will determine her identity at a future court appearance.
Montenegro was arrested on May 29 after neighbors reported seeing her push a trash can containing body parts. Investigators later discovered a torso and legs at an Ontario residence belonging to some of her relatives. Los Angeles County authorities also discovered a head and two arms in two large flower parts at another relative’s address in Bell Gardens. The body parts were believed to have come from a single person, Wiggins.
At the time, it was alleged that Montenegro and her son had delivered the pots on Mother’s Day, police said.
“It’s hard to comprehend that someone could be so callous about pushing body parts down the street in a trash can like it was nothing,” said David Hidalgo, supervisor of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office’s family violence unit. “She was desperate and she was looking for people to help her dispose of the body.”
Police believe Montenegro killed Wiggins at his Diamond Bar home, which is in L.A. County, and transported his remains to her relative’s Ontario home, where she buried the body parts. Hidalgo said she dug several deep holes but told relatives she was re-doing their garden.
A possible motive, according to authorities, is that Montenegro was being sexually abused. Police also believe that she was using credit and ATM cards that belonged to Wiggins after his disappearance. Hidalgo also said she used his car in days after he turned up missing.