FALLS CHURCH, Va. – A Virginia man, Richard Montano, has been convicted for a gruesome crime involving the fatal beating, stabbing, and burning of a woman he erroneously believed to be his former girlfriend. The victim, Silvia Vaca Abacay, a mother of two, was temporarily residing in the apartment of Montano’s ex-girlfriend at the time of the incident.
The tragic incident occurred on August 10, 2022, when police were called to an apartment in Falls Church following reports of a domestic dispute. Upon arrival, officers discovered a horrifying scene: smoke billowing from the apartment and Abacay, severely wounded and on fire. Despite immediate efforts to extinguish the flames and save her life, Abacay was pronounced dead at the scene. A subsequent medical examination revealed she had been stabbed ten times.
Montano’s former girlfriend, Fatima Via, was present in court during the verdict. Overwhelmed with guilt, Via expressed her remorse to a local NBC affiliate, stating that Montano had intended to harm her, not Abacay.
Fairfax County Police Major Ed O’Carroll described the incident as “horrific and profoundly sad.” At the same time, Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano called it one of the most disturbing crime scenes he had ever witnessed.
Investigators quickly identified Montano as a person of interest, citing surveillance footage that showed him entering the apartment prior to the murder. Authorities believe Montano forced his way into the apartment, killed Abacay, and then set her on fire in an attempt to conceal his crime. He was later arrested at his home in Arlington.
Montano is scheduled for sentencing on January 19. In the wake of this tragedy, a fundraising page has been set up to support Abacay’s family, describing her as a devoted mother, loving wife, and a joyful person who was always ready to help others. Her death has left her family and friends in a state of shock and profound grief.