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Killer dad’s ‘lame’ coverup story sentenced for murdering his wife and three kids Pennsylvania fire

Killer dad’s ‘lame’ coverup story sentenced for murdering his wife and three kids Pennsylvania fire

  • Carlos Montalvo-Rivera, 55, has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, 13 years after he set his own house on fire, resulting in the death of his wife 
  • Montalvo-Rivera went to great lengths to make himself appear as a victim rather than the perpetrator by tying himself up after setting home alight 
  • He claimed intruders had broken into his home, killed his wife, Olga Sanchez-Reyes, and set the house on fire; his three young kids managed to escape the fire
Carlos Montalvo-Rivera, 55, has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, 13 years after he set his own house on fire, resulting in the death of his wife

A Pennsylvania man who set his own house on fire, killing his wife while his three children were also inside has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison 13 years after the deadly crime occured.

Carlos Montalvo-Rivera, now 55, faced charges of first-degree murder, arson and three counts of attempted criminal homicide for the December 2010 blaze in which he claimed to have been tied up by intruders.

The judge at his sentencing blasted his story as ‘lame’.  

Prosecutors explained how Montalvo-Rivera decided to tie himself up in an attempt to also appear as a victim rather than the perpetrator of the sickening murder.

Montalvo-Rivera continued to deny his role in the crime but the jury saw through his lies.

Lancaster County Judge Dennis Reinaker expressed his own disbelief at Montalvo-Rivera’s fabricated story during the sentencing hearing, emphasizing that the jury’s decision at finding him guilty also reflected their complete disbelief in his account of events. 

‘The lame story you concocted and continued to hold onto simply didn’t hold any water. The jury didn’t believe you, and I think that’s how it should be,’ Judge Reinaker said.

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Montalvo-Rivera went to great lengths to make himself appear as a victim rather than the perpetrator by tying himself up after setting home alight in 2010
He claimed intruders had broken into his home, killed his wife, Olga Sanchez-Reyes, and set the house on fire; his three young kids managed to escape the fire

Assistant District Attorney Christine Wilson described the crime as a cold-blooded murder. 

‘This was an absolutely brutal and heinous crime that involved multiple victims. It was a cold-blooded murder. Even though the defendant refuses to admit accountability for his actions, he’s been found guilty by a jury of his peers,’ she stated.

Wilson expressed satisfaction that justice had been served for the victim’s family after years of delay. 

‘Justice has been delayed, but the victim’s family has finally received it,’ she said. 

In his fabricated story, Montalvo-Rivera claimed intruders had broken into his home, killed his wife, Olga Sanchez-Reyes, and set the house on fire. 

A lengthy nine-year investigation proved his claims to be false. He was subsequently arrested and charged in 2019

He claimed the intruders were retaliating against his brother, who had cooperated with the Drug Enforcement Administration on an unrelated matter.

He claimed to have been asleep only to wake up to the smell of smoke and the sounds of his wife arguing with a stranger. 

Montalvo-Rivera said he was struck on the head and lost consciousness, only coming around 45 minutes later to find himself tied up and the house ablaze.

A lengthy nine-year investigation proved his claims to be completely false. He was subsequently arrested and charged in 2019.

Prosecutors outlined in crushing detail how Montalvo-Rivera murdered his wife by pouring gasoline from the stairs to her bedroom before setting the house ablaze. 

The couple’s three children, aged eight, nine, and 13 at the time, were still in the house on the third floor. Incredibly managed to escape through a door on the first floor and make it up onto the rooftop.

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Montalvo-Rivera then tied himself up to deceive investigators.

A neighbor, Jonathan Santiago, was hailed as a hero, after hearing the children’s cries for help from the rooftop. 

He managed to organized a rescue operation together with other neighbors. 

Santiago climbed along four adjacent rooftops in order to reach the two children who were stranded on Montalvo-Rivera’s roof, saving their lives.

‘Had it not been for the brave actions of a neighbor, the incident would have likely been even more tragic, as he helped save the lives of two of the children by assisting them to safety from the burning building,’ the Lancaster Police Bureau said in 2019.

After the fire, Montalvo-Rivera’s eight- and nine-year-old daughters were taken to hospital in critical condition, while his 13-year-old son also required medical treatment. 

  • June 24, 2023