homicide

‘Horrific Crime': Woman Killed, Set on Fire in Fairfax County

The victim was found in an home on Willston Place, in the Seven Corners area. Police had previously been called to the address for domestic disputes

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A woman was killed and set on fire Wednesday in the Seven Corners area of Fairfax County, Virginia, authorities say. Police have arrested a man in her murder.

Residents of The Villages at Falls Church building in the 2900 block of Willston Place said they heard a woman screaming for help and called 911 before 3 p.m.

Officers saw smoke coming out of the apartment when they arrived and then inside discovered 40-year-old Silvia Vaca Abacay on fire and suffering from multiple stab wounds to her upper body, police said. She died at the apartment.

“Officers did everything they could to save her life,” Maj. Ed O’Carroll said. 

Investigators said the fire department was already on the way to the building after receiving alerts about an alarm. Firefighters worked to prevent the flames from spreading to nearby homes. 

News4's Walter Morris has the latest from authorities who say a woman was killed and set on fire in Fairfax County.

An officer who tried to help Vaca was treated for smoke inhalation, police said.

Police distributed a photo of a man they described as a person of interest and said in an update that they had found him.

Richard Montano, 47, was later arrested at his home in Arlington and charged with second-degree murder, burglary with intent to commit murder and burning of an occupied dwelling, police said. Montano is in jail without bond, police said.

Police did not describe the relationship between the victim and the person of interest but said they do not believe the crime was random. 

“From all the information we have, this is not a random act of violence. We do believe that the person responsible knew the victim,” O’Carroll said. 

No one else was in the home at the time of the killing, police said. Officers had been called to the address multiple times for domestic disputes, the department said.

“This is a horrific crime. It’s profoundly sad,” O’Carroll said.

The medical examiner's office is conducting an autopsy to determine the exact cause and manner of Vaca Abacay's death.  

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.

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