The Miramar man charged in the murder of his missing wife entered a not guilty plea during a Thursday morning hearing.
Cid Torrez, 39, was arrested last month on a first-degree murder charge in the death of his wife, Vilet Torrez, who disappeared in late March. He was indicted last week by a Broward County grand jury, even though her body has never been found despite an extensive, months-long search.
Torrez didn't appear in person at Thursday's hearing but submitted a written plea of not guilty.
Richard Della Fera, Cid Torrez's attorney, has maintained his client's innocence and called the timing of his arrest, the day before Thanksgiving, "very suspect."
Torrez was arraigned a second time Thursday when he appeared at a dependency hearing in family court.
A petition for dependency has been filed to remove the couple's three children from his care, custody and control, but Torrez pleaded not guilty to charges that they should be taken away from him, Della Fera said.
The children were removed from Torrez on Thanksgiving eve, the night that he was arrested, and have been placed in the custody of their maternal grandparents.
Della Fera is arguing that the children should be with Cid Torrez's parents, and claims that an initial report on a home study of the paternal grandparents was favorable, he said.
A trial has been set for Jan. 15 to determine custody of the children.
According to an arrest warrant released by Miramar Police last week, Torrez, who was estranged from his wife, made several disturbing comments months before her disappearance, including a prediction that his wife would die if she ever left him.
Torrez allegedly told a friend that if he couldn't have his wife, nobody could, and said if she wasn't with him, "she's dead," the warrant said.
Della Fera said many statements in the arrest warrant are unreliable and said he planned to challenge those statements in court.
Torrez remains behind bars without bond.