FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The trial has begun for a South Florida man charged with murdering his wife.
Thirty-eight-year-old Vilet Torrez was last seen going into her Miramar town home on March 31, 2012, at 5:16 a.m., and she hasn’t been seen since.
Police arrested her husband, 43-year-old Cid Torrez, and charged him with her murder, despite not having found her body.
“She has not been heard from, seen from, nobody has received a text from her, received a greeting card from her,” said prosecutor Lanie Bandell during her opening statements, Thursday afternoon.
Prosecutors said Vilet’s estranged husband was supposed to be taking their children to Orlando but instead was at the residence. The front door latch was locked, so she called him.
“There were three calls from Vilet at 5:19 a.m., which is consistent with her coming through the gate at 5:16 a.m.,” said Bandell. “The latch was on. She was let in.”
Prosecutors said Vilet’s 12-year-old daughter heard what she believed was her mother’s voice. “What she describes as, in the middle of the night, she recognizes and will testify that she heard the defendant’s voice, and she heard what she calls a howl or a cry,” Bandell.
Prosecutors said the daughter heard her father crying along with a repeated phrase. “‘You wake up! You wake up!’ Over and over,” said Bandell.
Cadaver dogs detected human decomposition near the front door of the town home and near Cid’s car.
However, his attorney, Richard Della Ferra, said there are crucial pieces of evidence missing from the prosecution’s case against his client. “No evidence of Vilet Torrez’s deceased body. There is no body. There is no murder weapon.”
But prosecutors said Cid’s cellphone pinged in a remote area, possibly the Everglades. They believe that’s where he dumped the body.
Prosecutors also showed photos from inside Cid’s car, where they found rubber gloves and rolls of tape. They also showed a bloody towel found inside the home, but prosecutors have not yet tied the blood in it to the victim or the defendant.
Prosecutors also showed a tire from Cid’s car with damage consistent with the same damage found at the home on the front pavers.
Vilet’s father broke down in tears while taking the stand, when a prosecutor asked him when was the last time he saw his daughter.
“Vilet Torrez has not traveled since March 31, 2012. She has not been seen or heard from, and that’s because he murdered her and disposed of her body,” said Bandell.
There’s also evidence of a 911 call Cid made just a few days after Vilet was last seen, where he reported her missing and said, “I did it.”
But Della Ferra claimed he was under duress at the time and that the whole ordeal has been exaggerated. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Cid Torrez did not murder Vilet Torrez,” he said.
According to family members, Cid was controlling and jealous, and Vilet was about to leave him. They said Vilet was afraid of her estranged husband, adding he had previously threatened her and even tried to choke her.
Cid apparently told people that if Vilet wasn’t with him, she wasn’t going to be with anyone. “[He allegedly said] ‘If she is not with me, she will be dead,'” said Bandell.
Family members said Vilet was a professional and a good mother to her three children.
The trial is expected to last several weeks.
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