The cause of death for a woman whose body was found bound at the hands and feet and stuffed in a suitcase that had been left on the side of a Connecticut road has been revealed.
Highway workers found the body of 24-year-old Valerie Reyes, of New Rochelle, New York in a wooded area of Greenwich, Connecticut in February.
A medical examiner ruled her official cause of death to be homicidal asphyxiation on Monday, Greenwich Time reports.
Reyes’ former boyfriend Javier Da Silva was arrested in February on a federal charge of kidnapping resulting in death. Authorities zeroed in on him after he allegedly used one of Reyes’ ATM cards, Greenwich police said in a statement at the time.
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 allegedly said he put packing tape over Reyes' mouth, bound her hands and legs and shoved her in a suitcase, which he dumped in Greenwich.
“There were obvious signs of head trauma, including bruising around the face and a large hematoma to the deceased female’s forehead,” the federal complaint stated.
“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.”
Reyes worked at a Barnes & Noble in Eastchester and was reported missing on Jan. 30 after she didn't show up for work. She was reportedly passionate about art and aspired to be a tattoo artist.
Da Silva faces possible life imprisonment if convicted.
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