A woman found dead in Cape Coral on Sunday told police she was eight weeks pregnant in late October, when her husband was charged with battery, accused of striking her.
Cape police spokesman Lt. Tony Sizemore said he didn’t know whether Anna Rivera, 45, was pregnant when she died, but detectives are still waiting to talk to her husband, Porfirio Rivera, 50.
“He’s in the hospital right now for his injuries and, until his status changes, we’re at a standstill,” Sizemore said. Police haven’t released further details.
Porfirio Rivera is the only witness being sought for questioning, Sizemore said. Police are investigating the death as a homicide. If Anna Rivera was pregnant, Sizemore said, that could make any resulting charges more severe.
Porfirio Rivera’s mother, Rita Rivera, who still lives in the family’s hometown of Philadelphia, said the relationship between her son and his wife was troubled, and he planned to divorce her.
“She was too jealous,” she said. “She think that he was doing something.”
Recently, she said, Anna Rivera cut holes in the ceiling of the couple’s home because she believed another woman was hiding there.
And, according to a police report from September, she rammed her car into the rear end of his vehicle in the driveway after a fight about their relationship.
His wife also resented him for working seven days a week, Rita Rivera said. She said her son worked for a cement company, and a 2007 court filing listed him as a supervisor at Cemex earning about $34,000 a year.
Though Anna Rivera told police she was pregnant, Rita Rivera said that wasn’t true. But while she describes her son as a “peaceful guy,” court records show he’s been accused of beating Anna Rivera and an ex-wife several times.
In the most recent incident, police responded to the couple’s home Oct. 26 after Anna Rivera claimed he struck her several times after asking where she’d been. He then tried to drag her toward the house, but she escaped and knocked on several neighbors’ doors, she told police, until Bob Kingston answered.
“She was visibly shaken — upset — and asked if I could call 911,” Kingston said. “She said, ‘Yeah, my husband beat me.’” He said he saw several bruises on her face, along with a bloody cut.
Porfirio Rivera was charged with battering her again in 2006 after she claimed he struck her when she tried to stop him from pouring out a bottle of alcohol.
In 2004, his ex-wife, named Janet Rivera at the time, accused him of coming home drunk and chasing her with a baseball bat before choking her. Police, however, ended up charging her that night. He claimed she became violent when she ran out of cigarettes.
The two divorced in 2005. The following year, however, she sought an injunction claiming he beat his daughter with a belt for skipping school. She claimed he threatened to “hunt (her) down and kill” her if he lost visitation rights.
Rita Rivera said her son has three kids from previous relationships, and Anna Rivera had two of her own. Court records indicate his son, 24-year-old Porfirio Rivera III, was sentenced in 2009 to 40 years in prison for a 2007 shooting at a North Fort Myers gas station.
Rita Rivera said she desperately wants to know how her son is doing and is shocked by the whole situation.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said of learning the news. “I thought it was a nightmare. I said God, if I’m sleeping, I want to wake up.”