An Orlando woman who stabbed her 11-year-old daughter more than a dozen times Sunday said it was because the girl smiled “different,” causing the mother to think her child was having sex, authorities said.
Rosa Rivera, 28, then drove Aleyda Rivera to Winnie Palmer Hospital, where Rivera was detained by hospital security after wielding a purple-handled pocket knife soaked with blood.
“My baby is gone,” Rivera told first responders, according to her arrest report. Aleyda had 15 stab wounds to her back and a defensive wound to her right arm, authorities said.
“These cases are horrific and tragic,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said during a Monday afternoon press conference. “And then to know that the child was killed by a mother — basically, a mother is the first line of defense to what is sometimes a very cruel world — is very hard on all of us.”
He urged anyone who knows about domestic violence or abuse to report it to authorities.
Authorities determined the incident started at a home on the 5700 block of Citadel Drive, where witnesses said Rivera arrived about 7:30 a.m. and began pounding on the door, accusing a man there of having sex with her daughter, deputies said.
The child denied having sex with anyone, the witnesses told authorities. Mina said detectives do not believe the child was being sexually abused, but they are still investigating.
“Based on what we know and what we’ve found so far, we believe that part to be false,” Mina said. “We are doing everything we normally do in those types of allegations, investigations, to unfound that completely.”
According to Mina, detectives believe Rivera stabbed the girl inside the car. Rivera then “drove [Aleyda] around in her vehicle until she ultimately died from those stab wounds.”
In an interview by detectives, Rivera initially denied stabbing her daughter, but eventually admitted to doing it “to prevent her from having sex with other men,” the report said.
“Rivera stated she stabbed her daughter while in the car, and while stabbing her she was attempting to make her more comfortable,” an investigator wrote in an arrest report.
Rivera told deputies she believed her daughter was in heaven.
She told authorities she never saw her daughter having sex, nor did her daughter tell her she was having sex. Rivera had a superficial cut to her arm when she was taken into custody which she said was self-inflicted, according to the report.
Rivera is facing a first-degree murder charge. She’s being held without bail in the Orange County Jail.
Her family answered the door of their Citadel Drive home but declined to speak with an Orlando Sentinel reporter.
“We’re doing OK,” said a male relative who answered the door with two women close behind him. The hunter green one-story home with white trim had a wrought-iron gate with the last name “Rivera” hung in gold letters. A yellow moving truck sat in the driveway.
Rosa Rivera is from Florida but lived in Texas for 12 years before moving to Orlando in December, Orange County Sheriff’s Office Det. Dorothy Rivera said. Rosa Rivera wanted to move into the Citadel Drive home but family members who lived there would not let her, Dorothy Rivera said.
Rosa Rivera had been living with a different family member until a few days ago, deputies said.
She did not answer questions shouted by reporters as she was transferred from the Sheriff’s Office to the Orange County Jail.
Staff writer Jeff Weiner contributed.
Michael Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 407-420-5022 or @michaeldamianw.