A Florida woman is facing a second-degree murder charge after her live-in boyfriend died from being trapped in a suitcase overnight Sunday.
Sarah Boone, 42, told police that the death of Jorge Torres, 42, was a tragic accident that resulted from an alcohol-fueled game of hide-and-seek. But a video that investigators found on her smartphone shows her taunting Torres as he cries for help from inside the luggage, police said.
Boone was arrested Tuesday in the Orlando suburb of Goldenrod, about 7 miles northeast of the resort city. She was being held without bail after an arraignment Monday and faces life in prison if convicted.
The autopsy does not list a cause of death. But it said Torres had long fingernail scratches on his upper back and neck and bruises on his shoulder, skull and forehead consistent with blunt trauma. He also had a cut lip.
According to an affidavit from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Boone called police around 1 p.m. She told detectives she had first called her ex-husband to come over to the apartment, and he had advised her to call authorities.
Firefighters arrived at the apartment to find the dead man on the floor near the front door beside the blue suitcase he died in.
Arrested: Sarah Boone, 42, for Second Degree Murder in the death of 42-year-old Jorge Torres Jr., who died after Boone zipped him into a suitcase, and didn’t return for hours. pic.twitter.com/JCHWG7WNkp
— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) February 26, 2020
Sarah Boone plays hide-and-seek
When initially questioned by detectives, Boone described the previous afternoon and evening with Torres as filled with puzzles, painting and chardonnay wine. She said they played hide-and-seek, with her hiding in the upstairs shower. At one point, she said, they “thought it would be funny” for Torres to be zipped into a suitcase in the living room.
Torres willingly curled up in the suitcase and Boone closed it with enough space for two of his fingers to protrude through the zipper, she recalled.
At about 12:30 a.m., Boone said she went to bed.
“Sarah assumed Jorge was going to get out of the suitcase and come to bed as well,” a detective wrote in his report. “Sarah said neither her nor Jorge were drunk from the wine.”
Boone said she got up the next morning, awakened by her smartphone ringing. She ignored the calls, she said, believing them to be from her ex-husband and remained upstairs in the bedroom until 11 a.m. She said she figured Torres already had awakened and was looking for a job on his laptop downstairs.
However, when she moved downstairs and couldn’t find him, she “freaked out” and found his body, according to police.
When questioned, Boone consented to have her phone searched and police found two videos that contradicted the story she had told them.
Videos tell a different story
The first video, recorded at 11:12 p.m., allegedly shows Torres struggling to free himself as he shouts Boone’s name.
“For everything you’ve done to me. F— you. Stupid,” Boone replies in the video, the affidavit said.
When Torres responds that he “seriously” can’t breathe, according to the affidavit, Boone tells him, “Yeah, that’s what you do when you choke me.”
Torres continues to say he cannot breathe, to which Boone responds: “That’s on you. Oh, that’s what I feel like when you cheat on me.”
Boone then tells him to, “Shut up,” the affidavit said.
Police said the suitcase can be seen face down in the video, with Torres pushing up from the floor attempting to escape.
A second video also shows Torres calling out Boone’s name, according to the affidavit.
When confronted with the first video, detectives said Boone told them to stop and acknowledged that it looked “bad.” She claimed she did not recall recording it, police said.
Boone could not explain why she went to sleep without releasing Torres from the suitcase and began contradicting her original statement, police said. She then “began to blame the consumption of alcohol,” they added.