Fairfax County police have arrested a 47-year-old Arlington man in the Aug. 10 fatal stabbing and burning of a Falls Church woman.
County police at 3:05 p.m. that day responded to a reported domestic dispute at an apartment in the 2900 block of Willston Place in the Seven Corners area. A neighbor had called police after hearing a man and woman arguing in an adjacent apartment.
Officers observed smoke emanating from the apartment when they arrived. Inside the apartment, they found the victim, 40-year-old Silvia Vaca Abacay of Falls Church, on fire and suffering from multiple stab wounds to the upper body.
First-responders extinguished the fire and attempted to provide life-saving measures, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the exact cause and manner of her death.
Detectives, with the assistance of professional support staff, conducted an investigative analysis of the apartment and identified a person of interest, Richard Montano, 47, of Arlington. Surveillance footage of Montano entering the home prior to the murder was found and distributed to officers and the community, police said.
Detectives believe Montano forced entry into the apartment, assaulted Abacay and set her on fire. He then fled the apartment and eventually returned to his residence in Arlington, police said.
Detectives from the department’s Special Investigation Unit and Fugitive Track and Apprehension Squad, along with the Arlington County Police Department, located Montano near his home and arrested him without incident. Authorities took him to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and charged him with second-degree murder, burglary with intent to commit murder and burning of an occupied dwelling. He is being held without bond.
Abacay’s death is Fairfax County’s 14th homicide this year. Year to date, there were 15 homicides in 2021.