NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – One year ago, the body of Valerie Reyes was found in a suitcase in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Wednesday, the man who kidnapped and left the New Rochelle woman there to die, pleaded guilty.

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Valerie Reyes (credit: Greenwich Police)

With a signature on a seven-page plea agreement, 25-year-old Javier da Silva admits he kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and left her to die in a suitcase he dumped on the side of the road.

“He really took away an innocent girl who is missed,” said Brenda DeGiacomo. She lives across from the New Rochelle home where Reyes vanished in January 2019.

Relentless police work led law enforcement to da Silva, who dated Reyes briefly.

Wednesday, on the sixth floor of White Plains federal court, he pleaded guilty to kidnapping Reyes and causing her death.

Da Silva, in Spanish, said “after a violent struggle in her apartment, while Valerie Reyes was still alive, I bound her feet and hands, put tape over her mouth and put her in a suitcase.”

Da Silva admitted dumping the suitcase in Greenwich, where it was found on Feb. 5, 2019.

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Wednesday in court, we learned important new details, reported CBS2’s Tony Aiello. The prosecution was ready to prove da Silva re-rented the exact same vehicle he used to drive the victim to Connecticut, in order to take that vehicle to a car wash and scrub it clean of any DNA evidence.

Police also believe he stole close to $10,000 from the victim’s accounts, starting in September 2018 and continuing after the kidnapping.

Da Silva faces 30 years to life when he’s sentenced in May.

“I’m glad he’s getting 30 years and I hope he does his 30 years in time,” DeGiacomo said.

Valerie is remembered as a loving, artistic young woman.

Her family posted a plea for privacy at their New Rochelle home.

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Da Silva is a Venezuelan national who overstayed his visa and was in the country illegally. He faces deportation after finishing his prison term.