While the man arrested on suspicion of murdering a St. Cloud woman remains in jail, it is no longer for the murder charge.
Ninth Circuit Court Judge Jon B. Morgan ruled Tuesday afternoon that Christopher Otero-Rivera be released on his own personal recognizance after state prosecutors did not file charges in the slaying of his estranged wife, Nicole Montalvo.
Otero-Rivera was arrested on Oct. 27, days after Montalvo’s disappearance and the subsequent finding of her remains on nearby land in St. Cloud owned by his father, Angel Rivera, who was also arrested. However, the state never presented — and still hasn’t — evidence to hold Otero-Rivera on probable cause for a murder charge.
The 30-day window for that closed on Nov. 29, Black Friday, but the courts were closed for the holiday. Since the state didn’t present probable cause findings at a hearing Tuesday, Morgan ordered the charges dropped.
However, he Otero-Rivera remains held on no bond on a misdemeanor charge of violating an active domestic violence protection order. According to the arrest report for that charge, he admitted to phoning and texting Montalvo, violating an order put in place in October 2018, on Oct. 18, three days after she was reported missing.
Court records she Otero-Rivera is scheduled for a hearing on Dec. 17 for that charge, although a county court judge could grant one sooner.