Woman killed and set on fire inside apartment

FALLS CHURCH, VA – The second day of Richard Montano’s trial was marked by emotional scenes as friends of the victim, Silvia “Kelly” Abacay, were confronted with graphic images of the crime scene. Montano is facing charges of second-degree murder for the brutal killing of Abacay in her Falls Church apartment on August 11, 2022.

The prosecution presented a series of disturbing photographs, including a blood-stained pink and white knife discovered in the kitchen cupboard. Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) Detective Susan Anderton testified about the extensive blood evidence found throughout the apartment, including a large, wet blood stain concealed by a rainbow-colored painting in the hallway.

The front door of the apartment bore different types of blood splatters and smears, suggesting a bloodied object had struck the door. Anderton also described large blood stains near the front door, so heavy that the blood was running down the wall.

The FCPD initially responded to a domestic disturbance call around 3 p.m. on the day of the murder. Neighbors reported hearing Abacay’s cries for help. Upon arrival, officers found the 40-year-old mother ablaze and suffering from multiple stab wounds that were made to her upper body.

Friends of Abacay, including Yerin Romero, were present in the courtroom. Romero had previously expressed her grief to local media, stating that Abacay didn’t deserve such a horrific death. The friends were shown evidence of the charred and burned carpet in the apartment, revealing the hardwood floor beneath.

The relationship between Abacay and Montano remains unclear, although friends have described them as acquaintances. Montano was arrested in Arlington, where he resided. Another detective testified about finding tissue and clothes with red stains in Montano’s bathroom. Montano was identified as the suspect with the help of a photograph provided by a neighbor who claimed to have seen him fleeing the scene.