Police: Ex-boyfriend set woman's house on fire
HIALEAH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police said a South Florida family returned from vacation to find their home burned, and they suspect an ex-boyfriend did it.
"That's her home. That's her home, that's all she has," said Barbara Morales, a cousin of the victim.
Caridad Borroto cannot hear or speak and has now lost her home. "This is where her desk, her computer on the floor. This is what's left. All of her clothes are gone, her bed," said Morales. "[It was] a nightmare that for hours went on and on and on, as we saw it all happen."
Police said the inside of her mother's Hialeah home, where Borroto and her 10-year-old daughter Melissa lived, was torched by the little girl's father, Joel Martos, Saturday night. "He doesn't care about her or Melissa. He broke her car, he lit the house on fire," said Morales. "Knowing he was capable of ruining the 10 years that his own daughter had in that one room."
Surveillance video from a neighbor's house shows someone, who police believe is Martos, riding down 29th Lane and up to the Borrotos' house at 10:02 p.m. You see him leave at 10:25 p.m., then the first fire trucks show up to flames shooting from the window, 20 minutes later.
"They were with my brother and his family, just in the Keys for the week," said Morales. "She has nothing. There's nothing in that house that can be salvaged."
Police said Martos poured fire accelerant in all three bedrooms, doused his daughter's mattress and lit it all. Morales said, "It was out of revenge, out of jealousy, because she wanted nothing to do with him."
Surveillance video recorded on May 17 shows Martos involved in a confrontation with police outside the same home. The court had just recently awarded Borroto a restraining order against Martos. "This is where her desk [was], her computer's on the floor. This is what's left. All her clothes are gone," said Morales. "The 11-year-old's school uniforms they just bought for the next school year are gone. She's been, little by little buying everything new. Bedroom, living room and it's all gone."
Martos was arrested, while his ex-girlfriend, daughter and her grandmother picked out burned pieces of their past with the help of the rest of their family.
On Monday, Martos appeared before a judge. He was charged with first-degree arson, burglary and aggravated stalking. He is being held on $35,000 bond.
Caridad is now staying with other family members.
The family said they will have to rebuild on a $700 per month disability check.
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