A British woman is flying to the US to marry a double killer she has never met – and who is locked up until 2034.
Online chats led to a romance that has stunned Naomi’s family, not least when she revealed she had accepted his marriage proposal.
Oquendo, 30, shot dead two gangland rivals and has served 10 years of a 24-year sentence for crimes which also included three armed robberies.
But Naomi, from Chelmsford, Essex, insists: “Victor’s not a monster, he’s a human being. Never in my wildest dreams did I plan to fall in love with an inmate, but it happened and I wouldn’t change it.
“Victor is the kindest man I have ever met. People might judge before knowing the full story, but I can’t imagine my life without him,” she told the Mirror.
Naomi hopes to fly to the US this summer and visit Oquendo when Covid rules allow. The wedding could happen in jail as soon as September.
The killer is heavily tattooed and Naomi has had his initials inked on her wrist. She also has a tattoo on her ribs of his handwriting and signature.
He calls her Butterfly – and she has taken a doll with his image pasted on the front to a string of London tourist sites for photos.
The unlikely romance was spawned when trainee counsellor Naomi researched mentoring.
She contacted Oquendo at Macomb Correctional Facility in Michigan, after spotting his mugshot on writeaprisoner.com.
It was only after they had been in contact for a fortnight that he admitted he had shot dead two men after a carjacking in 2010.
Oquendo admitted two counts of second-degree murder, home invasion and robbery.
But despite his crimes, Naomi says: “Victor is the man I want to be with. From the beginning, I knew it was different.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about Victor. I checked my phone constantly and got butterflies when he replied. After a few weeks, I knew I couldn’t deny it any longer. I told Victor that I was sorry but I’d started to get feelings and needed to pull away.
“He begged me to let him ring me and, on the phone, he admitted he had feelings for me too.
“It was the first time we’d spoken on the phone and I was surprised by how nice his voice was. It was very deep and calming.
“We swapped pictures and Victor sent me love letters and art in the post. He also sent portraits he’d drawn of me.”
Oquendo proposed three times on the phone, but each time she refused as they hadn’t even met and had no idea when they could meet due to Covid travel restrictions.
Then, last September, Naomi received a large bunch of lilies and roses and a black velvet ring box.
She reveals: “I opened the note and it was from Victor, asking me to marry him. Along with the note was a beautiful diamond ring.
“This proposal felt serious and real. He rang me that day and I was in tears. He finally got a ‘Yes’.”
Naomi spends around £270 a month on phone calls and emails. She even sends him food packages.
And despite no physical contact, Naomi says they are very “emotionally connected”.
She says: “Conjugal visits aren’t permitted in Michigan, but sex is not a deal-breaker for me. I’m happy to stay faithful.
“And we do try to be intimate on the phone when we can. We find moments to have intimacy together. Victor is such a good listener.
“I’ve never been a marriage person but Victor changed that. I assume it’s because I’ve never loved someone as much as him.
“I’m planning to get married in September. My family know, but they haven’t commented. I know it will take time for them to come round.
“To me, he’s not just a criminal – he’s Victor, the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.”