Anna Louisa Rivera
Lee County Sheriff's Office mug of Porfirio Rivera
Her mother, Victoria Anne Lopez said on Wednesday, was the strongest woman she knew.
Abused by men for much of her life and heartbroken over the incarceration of her son in connection with the Cash Feenz rap group murders in 2006, she still sought to help those less fortunate, Lopez, 22, said.
Anna Rivera, 45, was found dead of apparent stab wounds at her Cape Coral home on Sunday.
Rivera’s husband, Porfirio Rivera, 50, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder. Police said he left a message on the phone of one of Anna Rivera’s friends on Sunday explaining he had killed his wife, planned to kill himself and that police should be called to the home.
Officers arrived to find Anna Rivera lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen and Porfirio Rivera suffering from apparently self-inflicted stab wounds nearby, police said. He was hospitalized until Wednesday, when he allegedly confessed to police before being booked into the Lee County Jail to await his first appearance before a judge this morning.
Lopez said her mother worked for the United Way in Harlem Heights before taking a job processing public assistance requests at the Florida Department of Children and Families, where she worked until retiring in July.
She said her mother and Porfirio Rivera were friends before becoming romantically involved about eight years ago. “It started in love, it really did,” she said.
But in 2006, her son, Kenneth Lopez, 18 at the time, participated in the torture, slaying and burning of Alexis Sosa, 18, and Sosa’s nephew Jeffrey Sosa, 14, at a birthday party for the leader of the Cash Feenz rap group. Lopez, one of the alleged shooters, pleaded guilty in exchange for a 50-year sentence.
“That was the first thing that broke their relationship down and put a strain on everything,” Victoria Anne Lopez said, “and it just kept getting worse.”
The following year, in 2007, Porfirio Rivera III, Porfirio Rivera’s son, was charged with a shooting at a North Fort Myers gas station. He was sentenced in 2009 to 40 years.
Despite frequent fights, the two remained together. Her mother, Lopez said, felt God was telling her to keep trying.
Porfirio Rivera, accused by his ex-wife of abuse as well, was arrested twice by Cape police, accused of beating Anna Rivera, once in 2006 and once last year. On Oct. 26, she told police her husband struck her several times in the driveway although she was 8 weeks pregnant.
Lopez said she believes the stress from that incident caused her mother to miscarry. She doesn’t know what caused Porfirio Rivera to snap on Sunday — “You really can’t pinpoint it” — but said she has already forgiven him.
As for her mother, Lopez said, she’s where she was meant to be. “My mom’s at peace,” she said. “She’s in the kingdom of God.”
Family and friends gathered at Mullins Memorial for a funeral service Wednesday afternoon.
Tina Rivera, Porfirio Rivera’s daughter, said she feels sorry for Anna Rivera’s family and can’t imagine what it feels like to lose a mother. But Fernandez said she also wants people to know her father isn’t a cold-blooded killer.
She said he had confided to several family members that his wife had threatened to kill him in his sleep, and he was afraid for his life. She said he may have finally been pushed to his limit on Sunday.
“I’m not here to say he was an angel, but he’s not this monster that people are portraying him to be,” she said.