Shackled at his wrists and ankles, the man charged with killing his missing wife kept his head bowed and stared straight ahead as a judge Wednesday formally removed his three children from his care.
Cid Torrez, 39, was arrested Nov. 21 at his parents' Miami Lakes home. He faces a first-degree murder charge for the death of his wife, Vilet Patricia Torrez, who disappeared from the couple's Miramar home on March 31 and has never been found.
In a brief hearing, Circuit Judge Hope Bristol of the Juvenlile Dependency Division ruled the Torrezes' three children, ranging in age from 5 to 13, remain in the care of their maternal grandparents. They have been staying with their missing mother's parents since Torrez's arrest.
Torrez, through his attorney, Richard Della Fera of Fort Lauderdale, had asked that the children be placed with his parents. Bristol ordered the state Department of Children and Families to do a home study of Torrez's parents household and will revisit his request at a later date.
The judge also denied visitation rights for Torrez, but that question may also be raised later.
"The goal is to do what's in the best interests of the children," said Paige Patterson-Hughes, DCF spokeswoman.
Miramar police have not released any details about Vilet Torrez's death or why her husband has been charged, despite the lack of a body. Department spokeswoman Tania Rues has only said investigators have collected enough evidence to link Cid Torrez to the crime.
Vilet Torrez was last seen on a surveillance tape as she drove her minivan through a gate at the Harbour Lakes Townhomes at 5:17 a.m. on March 31. The minivan was later found outside the Torrez home. For months, divers searched canals and lakes in the area, but never recovered a body.
Cid Torrez will be formally arraigned Dec. 13.
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