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Body found in suitcase following "accidental" murder

by Courtney Deeren - Copy Editor
Tue, Feb 19th 2019 04:00 pm
Deadly Ex-Lover Valerie Reyes (above right) was murdered and stuffed in a suitcase. The killer,  Javier Da Silva Rojas (above left) was once a lover of Reyes' and stated the murder was an `accident.`
Deadly Ex-Lover Valerie Reyes (above right) was murdered and stuffed in a suitcase. The killer, Javier Da Silva Rojas (above left) was once a lover of Reyes' and stated the murder was an "accident."

The body of a young woman was found in a suitcase after she had been reported missing a week earlier. According to CNN, the body of Valerie Reyes was discovered on the side of a Greenwich, Connecticut road Tuesday, Feb. 5.  The bag was found 15 to 20 feet off the road by a group of road workers who were doing a routine sweep of the area.

Early in the investigation, police detained Javier Da Silva Rojas for questioning after he used Reyes' debit card at a New York City ATM. Da Silva Rojas and Reyes were once involved in a romantic relationship, but according to Reyes’ family they had broken up a year ago, as reported by CNN.

Da Silva Rojas initially stated that he and Reyes were having sex in her New York apartment on January 29 when she fell and hit her head.

He then put tape over her mouth and bound her wrists and ankles before putting her in a suitcase. Eventually he put the suitcase in a car and drove around for a while before leaving the suitcase in a forest, according to a federal complaint from prosecutors.

According to the New York Post, when Da Silva Rojas was interviewed he cried the whole time, saying he tried to revive Reyes before disposing of her body.

He claimed he didn’t know what to do, and said “sorry” over two dozen times during the interview.

Da Silva Rojas said he didn’t call the police because he thought “they would blame [him].” Da Silva Rojas claimed he knew the police would catch him and said he wanted them to find out, and that’s why he withdrew the cash from the ATM. However, although Da Silva Rojas claimed his relationship with Reyes was good, he couldn’t remember how long they had been together.

Da Silva Rojas holds dual citizenship in Venezuela and Portugal and came to the United States on a Visa Waiver Program. This program allows people to stay for 90 days or less without a visa for business or tourism. Da Silva Rojas had been in the U.S. since May 2017, and on Wednesday, Feb. 13 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed a detainer on Da Silva Rojas.

The initial charge placed on Da Silva Rojas was kidnapping resulting in death, which could lead to life in prison or a possible death sentence. Da Silva Rojas is currently being held without bail since he crossed state lines to dispose of her body.

According to Huffington Post, police viewed hours of surveillance footage and interviewed several potential suspects before arresting Da Silva Rojas.

One question that has been raised is, if Da Silva Rojas loved Reyes so much and her death was only an accident, why not just leave her if he was too afraid to call the cops? Taping someone’s mouth after they are already dead seems unnecessary, as does tying up her hands and legs. It doesn’t seem as though someone who allegedly loved a person would be willing to dispose of them on the side of the road as if they were trash.

While Da Silva Rojas has apologized to the Reyes family, he can never take back what happened. His apologies won’t mend the broken hearts of friends and family who loved Reyes. Prosecutors have not yet said whether they will sentence Da Silva Rojas to death if found guilty.

According to a recent report on CBS2, a source has said the cause of death was asphyxiation, not a head injury. A Connecticut medical examiner has completed an autopsy, but the official results have not yet been released to the public.

Recent information released by police stated that Da Silva Rojas cleaned up blood at the scene and changed his clothes, which may show this wasn’t just an accident.

It has also been reported that Da Silva Rojas disposed of Reyes’ phone and even covered his face when he used her debit card to withdraw $1,000 from the ATM. When asked why he tied her up and taped her mouth, Da Silva Rojas said she wouldn’t fit in the suitcase so he had to tie her arms and legs, and he taped her mouth so she wouldn’t scream.

Reyes aparently had a feeling she was in danger. CNN reported that Reyes' mom said her daughter called her and said "I'm afraid someone is going to murder me," never specifying who it was she was afraid of.

Nobody deserves to die like this. Reyes will forever live on in the hearts of friends and family.