Fidel Lopez Arrested, Charged with Gruesome First-Degree Murder

Published Sep 23, 2015

NEWS:   Florida man Fidel Lopez, 24, has been charged with first-degree murder after the brutal killing of Maria Nemeth, 31.

Miami-area man Fidel Lopez, 24, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in relation to the sexual assault and death of 31-year-old Maria Nemeth at the Colonnade Residences in Sunrise, Florida (where the victim worked in the business' leasing offices).

Multiple news sources took the unusual step of labeling articles about the crime with content warnings. For example, West Palm Beach station WPTV was one of many who cautioned viewers and readers that the nature of the reporting about the crime was disturbing:

According to an arrest report, 24-year-old Fidel Lopez called Sunrise police just after 3:30 a.m. Sunday to his apartment located 11630 Northwest 128th Drive. Lopez told police that his girlfriend, 31-year-old Maria Nemeth, was not breathing.

Police arrived to find Nemeth's naked body on the bathroom floor surrounded by blood and bodily tissue. Police also observed holes in the dry wall and a closet door that had been removed and was lying on the hallway floor, and began to suspect a struggle and foul play.

The station included additional detail from a police report which described the hours-long assault Nemeth allegedly suffered at the hands of Lopez before she died of her injuries. Lopez reportedly claimed he became enraged because Nemeth had blurted out the name of a former partner during an intimate moment:

The report indicates that Lopez flew into a rage, breaking things in the apartment and punching holes in the wall. He went into the closet where Nemeth was lying unconscious, and began to violently assault her, inserting various items, including a beer bottle, a hair flat iron, and both of his fists, into her as she lay unconscious, police said. Lopez admitted to police that he inserted his arm so far into Nemeth's body that he ripped out her intestines.

Miami station WPLG also described the police report's contents beneath a brief content warning:

Detectives said Lopez gave them a graphic description of how he stuck his arm inside her vagina and anus "all the way up to his elbow," causing her to bleed. Lopez admitted to ripping internal tissue out of her, including intestinal matter, detectives said.

In the report, Lopez told detectives that he became a "monster."

Lopez said he carried Nemeth to the bathroom and tried to put water on her face to wake her up, but she never regained consciousness, the report said. Lopez then washed the blood off his hands in the bathroom sink, went outside to smoke a cigarette and then began to panic, taking items from the closet to cover up the bloody tissue, the report said.

The Palm Beach Sun Sentinel reported that Lopez and Nemeth had only lived together for a week at the time of the deadly assault and that Nemeth was separated (but not divorced) from the man to whom she had been previously married, but did mention the overall duration of their relationship.

On 22 September 2015, police released a recording of Lopez's 911 call:

The 911 recording released by police showed a largely incomprehensible Lopez pleading and crying uncontrollably. He called for help at 3:39 a.m.

"She's not breathing, man. She's going to die," he told the dispatcher who urged him to offer an address.

He couldn't give a specific location but told the dispatcher that they had just rented the apartment together. Lopez told the dispatcher Nemeth was an assistant manager at the apartment complex where they lived.

Nemeth was pronounced dead at 4:02 AM. Lopez was not granted bond and remained in custody at a Broward County jail.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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