Maria Nemeth’s death: The unfortunate events that led to her demise

When police responded to Fidel Lopez’s frantic and emotional 911 call in September 2015, they found him crying next to the lifeless and disemboweled body of Maria Nemeth. Detectives initially theorized that they’d stumbled on a failed abortion attempt. However, they quickly dismissed that idea after examining the house. 

The walls were bashed in; investigators found body tissue in the closet; the walls and floor smeared with blood; the sliding glass door was shattered – all signs pointed to a struggle. It became clear that the Sunrise apartment was a murder scene, and the prime suspect was Fidel Lopez. 

Lopez and Maria Nemeth started dating after she divorced her husband of 8 years. A week before the incident, the couple had moved into a new apartment at Colonnade Residences in Sunrise, Florida. 

On the night of the incident, the pair shared a couple of margaritas and headed to their apartment with a bottle of tequila. The apartment had no furniture, so they fashioned a table out of cardboard boxes. 

After drinking half of the bottle, Fidel flew into a violent rage – he punched holes in the walls, shattered the sliding doors, and ripped out the closet doors. He initially claimed that the couple made up and had sex inside the closet. 

Lopez said that Nemeth threw up and lost consciousness. In his first story, Lopez blamed the death on violent sex, but investigators weren’t buying it. 

Following hours of prying, investigators got the true story. Lopez got mad with anger after Maria called her ex-husband’s name twice during sex. He trashed the apartment before turning his attention to Nemeth. 

He inserted both fists, a flat iron for hair, and a beer bottle inside Nemeth, ripping her intestines out. Lopez told investigators:

“She called me the name of the other fucking guy. And she said it twice, and she was wrong and she was confusing me with him. At that point, I get mad. I get really, really mad. If I was sober, maybe I would have just left the apartment. But I was drunk.”

Fidel said he tried to wake Nemeth up by pouring water on her face, but she was long gone. The panic set in as he smoked a cigarette outside. “I was so fucking nervous man,” Lopez said. “I wasn’t thinking, man. I wasn’t thinking.”

Lopez was arrested and locked up in the Broward Main Jail as he awaited trial. His family visited often, sent him money for snacks and a radio, and coordinated his defense with the public defender. 

Fidel told his mom that he was concerned for Maria Nemeth’s family. According to transcripts of a phone conversation with his mom acquired by The South Florida SunSentinel, Lopez said:

“Did you already talk to Maria’s mom and with her family? They are all going to think that I’m an animal, that I’m a monster. I don’t know [how] the mom must feel or anything.”

Lopez told his sister that the murder haunted him, forcing him to use sleeping pills: “I wasn’t able to sleep last night. How am I going to sleep? If each time I close my eyes U have that in mind? The only thing I cared about was her.”

Fidel’s mother comforted him by calling the murder ‘a moment of craziness, madness.’ “These are attacks from the devil,” she said. “The psychologists don’t understand it; the doctors don’t understand it. But whoever understands God knows what happened here.”

Fidel Lopez pleaded guilty to Maria Nemeth’s murder to avoid the death penalty. He hoped to secure a 50-year sentence, but prosecutors rejected the deal. 

“Mr. Lopez was very remorseful and as evidenced by what he did today, he took full responsibility, accepts full responsibility, and decided to accept the plea, which is life,” Defense attorney Gabe Ermine said

Lopez accepted a plea deal that sentenced him to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The agreement also barred him from appealing the sentence. 

Fidel apologized to Maria Nemeth’s family and thanked the judge for sparing his life. “Today, I am happy to fulfill this conviction,” Lopez said. “I know that what I did has to be paid and I agree. I will pay for the life I took. To Maria’s family, I ask forgiveness.”

“I ask for forgiveness. I hope they can find it and I hope that one day they can forgive me,” he continued. Fidel’s mother added: “We’d like to apologize. In the whole sense of the word, we are sorry. Everything that has happened to them has happened to us as well.”

Nemeth’s uncle, Juan Cavezudo, read the family’s statement, saying that only God would determine his fate. Juan continued:

“If I had to summarize the life of Maria, it would be very difficult to express in a few lines. I just want to tell you all that she was and will continue to be a model of affection, effort, perseverance and love of humanity.”