Woman stabbed to death and set on fire inside of her apartment

FALLS CHURCH, VA – A Virginia man, Richard Montano, 48, has been convicted of first-degree murder and arson of an occupied dwelling for the brutal killing of Silvia “Kelly” Vaca Abacay in 2022. Montano was found guilty of stabbing and setting Abacay on fire, mistakenly thinking she was his ex-girlfriend who had recently ended their eight-year relationship.

Abacay was temporarily residing in her friend’s apartment, who happened to be Montano’s ex-girlfriend. Montano had broken into the apartment on August 10, 2022, with the intention of killing his ex-girlfriend, Fatimah. Evidence from a neighbor’s Ring camera revealed that Montano had unlawfully entered the apartment multiple times a month prior, with the last intrusion occurring just ten days before Abacay’s murder.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano stated that Montano had repeatedly broken into the apartment after his relationship with Fatimah ended and had been lying in wait. On the day of the murder, a neighbor had called 911 four times after hearing screams and loud noises from the apartment.

Montano, in his mistaken identity, stabbed Abacay to death and set her body on fire. The violence was so extreme that the medical examiner had difficulty determining the exact number of wounds on Abacay’s body. The trial, which began on Monday, saw jurors listening to the chilling 911 calls and viewing graphic images of blood spatter and stains around the apartment.

FCPD Detective Susan Anderton testified about the blood stains on the walls by the front door, which were so heavy that the blood was running down. Descano expressed that the images from the crime scene were particularly haunting. After deliberating for three hours on Thursday, the jury returned with a guilty verdict.

Montano’s sentencing is scheduled for January 19, 2024, and he could face life imprisonment for both charges. Descano expressed hope that the verdict would help Abacay’s family, including her husband and two teenage children, begin their healing process.