The ex-boyfriend of a New York woman whose body was discovered stuffed into a suitcase admitted dumping her body on the side of a Connecticut road but claims she died accidentally while the two were having sex, according to prosecutors.
Valerie Reyes’ body was found last week in a big red suitcase, bound at the hands and feet, by highway workers in a wooded area of Greenwich, Connecticut, about 10 miles from New Rochelle, where she lived. Reyes had been reported missing on Jan. 30 when she did not show up for work at a Barnes & Nobles in Eastchester.
Greenwich police on Tuesday identified the suspect in her death as Javier Da Silva, who was arrested in Queens, New York. The authorities zeroed in on him after he allegedly used one of Reyes’ ATM cards, Greenwich police said in a statement.
Da Silva has told investigators that on Jan. 29, he and Reyes had sex at her home when "at some point she fell to the floor and hit her head," prosecutors wrote in a federal complaint cited by CNN. Instead of calling 911, he said he put packing tape over Reyes' mouth, bound her hands and legs and shoved her in a suitcase, which he dumped in Greenwich.
Reyes’ exact cause of death has not yet been released.
However, "There were obvious signs of head trauma, including bruising around the face and a large hematoma to (Reyes') forehead," an FBI agent wrote in the complaint, cited by local outlet Lohud.com.
Da Silva has been charged with kidnapping resulting in death, which carries a potential penalty of death or life in prison. Prosecutors have not yet indicated if they will seek death if he is convicted.
“The last time I talked to Val she was really scared and fearing for her life. Now we know why,” Norma Sanchez said. “I just want to know why he did this to my daughter.”
The Associated Press has contributed to this report.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.