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Former Boyfriend Admits He Put Murder Victim Valerie Reyes In Suitcase, Authorities Say

Valerie Reyes was found dead inside a suitcase in Greenwich.
Valerie Reyes was found dead inside a suitcase in Greenwich. Photo Credit: Greenwich Police Department

A former boyfriend arrested on Tuesday for the murder of 24-year-old Valerie Reyes of Westchester admitted during an interview with law enforcement that he bound the woman and stuffed her inside a suitcase before dumping it in Greenwich.

Javier Da Silva, of Queens, admitted during an interview with an FBI agent that he did bound and put Reyes, a New Rochelle resident, in a suitcase and leave it in a wooded area, said a criminal complaint filed in White Plains Superior Court on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

The complaint, which lays out the quick work of law enforcement, said Da Silva, also told New Rochelle police, partially in Spanish and English, that on Tuesday, Jan. 29, the two had sex at her home and at some point, Reyes fell to the floor and hit her head. He said he then bound her and put her in the suitcase before placing her in his car which was rented through a car-sharing service under his name.

According to the complaint, which said "disposed of her body, resulting in the death of the victim," it is unclear when Reyes died, before or after being put in the suitcase.

Reyes, a 2012 graduate of New Rochelle High School, worked at Barnes & Noble in Eastchester. She was last heard from on Monday, Jan. 28 and had not been seen since Tuesday, Jan. 29. Her family filed a missing person report with the New Rochelle Police on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

Her body was discovered around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5 by a Greenwich highway crew in a wooded area.

The road that led detectives to Da Silva began when they reviewed Reyes' bank records that showed $1,000 had been withdrawn by someone using her debit card at around 5 a.m. on Jan. 29. A review of footage from a City of New Rochelle pole camera located in the area of the bank showed a black Honda CR-V pulled up toward the bank, parked across the street and a male exited the vehicle wearing a black hooded sweatshirt over his head, dark pants and black sneakers with white soles.

After making the transaction at the bank, the man got back into the vehicle and drove westbound where a license plate reader was able to pick up the vehicle's specific license plate number at the corner of North Avenue at Lincoln Avenue in New Rochelle.

From there, investigators were able to trace the vehicle to a car rental and car sharing company in Flushing. The person who had rented the vehicle on that same date was Da Silva, the complaint said.

A check with the family found that she had dated someone named "Javier," but that Reyes had broken off the relationship a year earlier. A search of her home turned up a drawing by Reyes that matched the social media profile of Da Silva.

"I believe that Da Silva is the individual depicted in the drawing found in the victim's house," the FBI agent stated in the complaint.

Based on all of the above evidence, investigators brought Da Silva in for an interview at the New Rochelle Police Department where he waived his Miranda rights and told his story, adding that once he placed her inside the vehicle, he drove for some time before placing the suitcase in the forest, where it was later found by Greenwich public works employees who unzipped it and found Reyes inside, the complaint said.

When found, the complaint said Reyes was barefoot with an unbuttoned shirt and denim jeans. She was bound at the feet and knees, and her hands were bound behind her back with appeared to be white twine and packing tape. There were obvious signs of head trauma including bruising around the face and a large hematoma on her forehead.

Following an autopsy, Reyes' father and brother identified her body.

“The arrest of Javier Da Silva is a result of the outstanding work and cooperation between members of the New Rochelle Police Department, the Greenwich Police Department, and the F.B.I. Safe Streets Task Force," said New Rochelle Deputy Police Chief Robert Gazzola. "This was a complicated case, and the efforts of the members who worked tirelessly on it should be applauded. I hope that this arrest will bring some degree of closure to the family of Valerie Reyes.”

Services for Reyes were held on Tuesday in New Rochelle. A funeral Mass is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Gabriel's Church at 120 Division St. in New Rochelle.  She will be buried at Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye.

New Rochelle and Greenwich police, were assisted in the investigation by the FBI, the FBI's Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force, Westchester County police, Westchester County District Attorney's Office, and the Westchester County Real Time Crime Center.

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