Arrest made in slaying, burning of Sweetwater teen

Armando Botell
Armando Botell Miami-Dade Corrections

A 66-year-old convicted killer who “became obsessed” with a Sweetwater teenage girl killed her and set her body ablaze next to a trash bin, police said Friday.

Armando Botell, 66, was arrested early Friday and charged with second-degree murder in the October slaying of Romina Fernandez, 17.

In an arrest report released Friday, Miami-Dade police said Botell had been providing the girl drugs for years, enticing her into a romantic relationship. But in recent months, he paid a friend to follow her around, according to police.

Then, on Oct. 11, the troubled teen’s family reported her missing.

Three days later, firefighters found her body ablaze next to a Dumpster behind a Sweetwater strip mall on the 11400 block of Flagler Street, just a few blocks away from her home. Her cause of death was not released.

Fernandez, who suffered from diabetes, had dropped out of Miami Killian Senior High. Botell was convicted of a murder in Hialeah in 1980, although it was unclear how much time he served in prison, according to state records.

Botell had nude photos of the girl stored on his phone, Miami-Dade Detective Juan Segovia wrote in his arrest report.

Cellphone records showed that the two were together just hours before her body was discovered, police said. Video surveillance also showed that Botell’s silver Mercedes was used to dump the body.

Botell also admitted to an acquaintance that he had been “physically abusive” toward the teenager in the past. During a February interview with police, Botell was “anxious and nervous and requested help leaving the country for South America.”