When Sarah Boone called police on Monday to report that her boyfriend was dead, she blamed it on a game of hide-and-seek.
After a night of puzzles, painting and chardonnay, Jorge Torres Jr. had climbed inside a suitcase as a joke, she claimed. Assuming he’d be able to get out, she’d gone to bed. The next morning, she woke up to find that Torres wasn’t lying next to her. He was still in the suitcase, and he wasn’t breathing.
But videos on Boone’s phone told another story, one that led to the 42-year-old being charged with murder on Tuesday. Authorities say that Boone knowingly left her boyfriend to die, taunting him and filming his cries for help as he told her that he couldn’t breathe.
According to an arrest affidavit from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Boone claimed that she and Torres, 42, had been drinking in their shared apartment in Winter Park, Florida, on Sunday night when they got an idea for a prank. The pair “thought it would be funny” if Boone zipped Torres inside a large suitcase in their living room, she said.
Torres willingly hopped in the suitcase, and Boone closed it up. She told police that her boyfriend had been able to stick two fingers out of the case, so she figured he’d have no problem freeing himself, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Figuring that he’d join her shortly, she went to bed, falling asleep around 12:30 a.m. Monday, she said.
When Boone called police that afternoon, she said that she’d waked several hours earlier but hadn’t been alarmed by Torres’ absence because she figured he was in a different room using the computer. But when she went downstairs, he was nowhere to be found. That was when she realized he was still in the suitcase and she “freaked out,” she said.
Deputies found Torres’ body next to the suitcase by the apartment’s door, with a small cut on his lip and bruising around one eye. According to the arrest affidavit, Boone allowed them to search her phone. It contained two videos that contradicted the story she’d told them earlier.
One video, filmed a little after 11 p.m. Sunday, showed Torres repeatedly yelling Boone’s name as he struggled to break free from the suitcase. According to the affidavit, she laughed at him and replied: “For everything you’ve done to me. F— you. Stupid.”
Torres told her that he “seriously” couldn’t breathe. “Yeah, that’s what you do when you choke me,” Boone responded, according to the affidavit.
When Torres continued to say that he couldn’t breathe, Boone allegedly replied: “That’s on you. Oh, that’s what I feel like when you cheat on me.” Then, she told him to shut up.
A second video showed Torres calling out Boone’s name from inside the zipped suitcase, the affidavit says. When deputies showed Boone the first video, she only got halfway through before telling the detectives that she wanted to stop, according to the Sentinel. She allegedly told police that the videos looked “bad” and she didn’t recall filming either of them.
The arrest affidavit doesn’t list a cause of death for Torres and doesn’t indicate what the suitcase was made out of, or why Torres wouldn’t have been able to escape or find a hole for air.
Boone and Torres appeared to have a troubled history. Court records show that Boone was charged with battery by strangulation in 2018 after she and Torres returned home from a bar and got into a physical fight. Police noted in an arrest affidavit that Torres had red marks and abrasions on his neck and that Boone had a bruised right eye. Both gave contradictory stories about what happened and said they did not want to testify against each other. The case was later closed.
A neighbor, Elijah Walker, said it wasn’t unusual for police to be at the couple’s apartment. “The walls here are very thin. You can hear them yelling, shouting, slamming things around,” he told News 13. “They definitely had a violent history from what I can tell and hear through the walls.”
Boone is being held without bail and faces life in prison if convicted. She is represented by the Orange County Public Defender, which has not yet commented on the case.