Charges filed in kidnapping, beating of two people near West Palm

Deputies arrested a man on Thursday who they say helped kidnap and severely beat a man and woman near West Palm Beach in February.

Angel Rivera, 46, faces charges of false imprisonment while armed, kidnapping while armed, felon in possession of a firearm, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He remains in the Palm Beach County Jail on a $650,000 bond. A 37-year-old man, who was identified in the police report only as the female victim’s boyfriend, was also charged.

On Feb. 7, Palm Beach County sheriff’s office deputies responded to an undisclosed address near West Palm Beach to investigate the disappearance of 22-year-old Cary Landa. A woman described to be Landa’s friend told deputies that Landa had been missing for about two days and had recently moved in with her boyfriend.

As deputies searched the residence, they found what appeared to be blood on a “saturated” folded rug and what appeared to be “fresh” blood on the master bedroom floor. They also found duct tape and zip ties. Deputies said there was a smell of bleach inside the residence and, outside by the front door, there was a large, fixed metal pipe with a “blood-like-substance” on it.

Detectives learned that a few days earlier on Feb. 5, a man named Roger Paz was lured to the residence. When Paz arrived, he was violently attacked and beaten with a baseball bat and brass knuckles. Paz was then bound with duct tape and placed in the trunk of a car, but he managed to escape and call police. Deputies said Paz suffered serious injuries from the attack.

On Feb. 9, Landa’s friend notified deputies that she had received Facebook messages from Landa. Landa communicated she was being held against her will in Opa Locka, had a broken finger, had been hit in the head and face with a hammer, and she was going to try to escape. Landa also sent the friend a photo of her face, which showed swelling and a black eye.

Landa was found later that afternoon in Lantana on Federal Highway after she called 911.

In an interview with detectives, Landa said that on Feb. 5, she and her boyfriend went to a strip club and, upon returning home, they both noticed that someone had broken into their residence, with drugs and cash missing from her boyfriend’s safe. Landa said he was furious and accused her of “being complicit in the burglary,” the report states.

Landa said her boyfriend repeatedly hit her in the face, briefly left the residence and returned with an assault rifle. He kept asking about the burglary, pointed the rifle at her then fired the rifle into the ceiling. When Landa’s friend called, the boyfriend got more upset and he beat Landa with a hammer and the rifle, the arrest report states.

Shortly after, several people known to be friends of the boyfriend — including Rivera — arrived at the home and Landa was also beaten by Rivera and another individual. Landa was pressured into calling Paz to lure him to the home because the men believed he was also involved in the burglary, according to the report.

Landa told police that when Paz arrived, he was cut with a knife and beaten with brass knuckles, a yellow tire iron, a vodka bottle and a baseball bat. She watched as Paz’s hands and feet were bound with duct tape, placed in the trunk of a car, and driven away while Rivera and Landa’s boyfriend stayed behind.

Shortly after, Rivera and Landa’s boyfriend discovered that Paz escaped, so the men left the home with Landa and went to a hotel in Lantana. When the men learned deputies had obtained a search warrant for Landa’s home, they fled to Opa Locka—holding Landa against her will, according to deputies.

Landa said she was able to flee from a vehicle while in Lantana, taking her boyfriend’s black handgun and his cell phone. Investigators were able to connect the boyfriend to the Opa Locka residence where Landa was held via cell phone data obtained through a search warrant.

Landa was able to identify Rivera in a photo lineup, and deputies arrested him on March 1. Deputies also located and arrested Landa’s boyfriend.

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