NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A man has confessed to killing a Westchester County woman found dead inside a suitcase along the side of a road in Connecticut, sources told CBS2 on Tuesday.
The body of Valerie Reyes, 24, of New Rochelle, was discovered last week on the shoulder of Glenville Road in Greenwich. Police said it was bound at the hands and feet.
Sources have identified the suspect as Javier da Silva, of Flushing, Queens, who previously had a relationship with Reyes. Sources said he is originally from Venezuela and has been in the country illegally since overstaying his visa.
Da Silva made a brief appearance in Federal Court in White Plains later Tuesday to face multiple charges, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
Reyes, described as a loving and creative, was reported missing in late January after she didn’t show up for work at Barnes & Noble in Eastchester.
“I was praying that wasn’t her in the suitcase. I was praying her family would have her back. She’s the oldest sibling. To lose your first born, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself,” her neighbor, Brenda DeGiacomo, told CBS2.
Sources told CBS2’s Aiello that da Silva confessed and he was caught after he tried to use Reyes’ debit card.
Aiello spoke with Reyes’ mother, Norma Sanchez, earlier Tuesday. She was wearing a ring that belonged to her daughter, and asked that CBS2 not show her face.
“We are, of course, devastated for my daughter’s death, but I’m just blessed beyond grateful that they found her murderer,” Sanchez said. “We didn’t think it was going to be this quick, but it’s just a blessing. I kept praying that she would tell me, she would give me hints, a name or something … I just feel so blessed, overwhelmed.
“We’re just grateful we have someone,” she added. “I promised my daughter we would make justice for her and I’m just so grateful to the authorities, investigators, everybody. I am.”
Her mother said Reyes took pity on da Silva when he claimed his mother in Venezuela was dying of cancer.
“She said, ‘Mami, his mother has cancer and I just want to be there for him a little more.’ She was an angel. She just wanted to support him more,” Sanchez said. “Again, he was like really pushy, wouldn’t take no for an answer, so my daughter started getting really frustrated with him, and it ended quick.”
Sanchez told Aiello that her daughter dabbled as an artist and sketched a beautiful portrait of the suspect while the two dated over a period of eight months. However, Reyes’ father told Aiello he tore that portrait up Tuesday morning out of disgust.
Autopsy results on Reyes are still pending.