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Woman in trash-can murder appears in court

June 2, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The woman charged with killing her boyfriend and pushing his body parts around in a trash can in Moreno Valley made her first court appearance on Thursday.

Carmen Montenegro, 44, appeared in court and didn't say a word. The judge agreed to the public defender's request for a delay in the arraignment hearing.

"She wants to talk to her client and needs time to talk with her client," said Deputy District Attorney Erica Gallegos.

Prosecutors say Montenegro killed her current boyfriend, 63-year-old Samuel Wiggins Jr., inside his own Diamond Bar home, and then chopped up his body.

"We believe she has a complete disregard for human life, but I don't believe she is mentally unstable or incapable of standing for trial," Gallegos said.

Investigators believe Montenegro may have hired a day laborer to bury body parts in the backyard of an Ontario home, and then wheeled a trash can around the neighborhood with more remains.

Her children, 25-year-old son Daniel Ortiz and her 26-year-old daughter Chanel Ortiz, have been arrested, accused of helping her dispose of even more body parts in flower pots at a family's home in Bell Gardens.

"We've recovered two arms and a head in Bell Gardens," Gallegos said.

Prosecutors say there is no clear motive for the killing, but Gallegos added that Montenegro was using Wiggins' car and ATM card soon after he was reported missing by relatives on May 1.

Investigators said Wiggins' entire body has been recovered, but they are continuing to search his Diamond Bar residence for more evidence.

Formal charges have yet to be presented against Montenegro's children.

As for Montenegro, she has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder and remained jailed Thursday on $1 million bail. Detectives added that Montenegro had a criminal history under the name Carmen Montelongo as well as other names.

Anyone with information related to the case should contact the Ontario Police Deptartment at (909) 395-2752.

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