Things That Matter

Venezuelan Charged With Murdering 24-Year-Old Valerie Reyes Who Was Found Dead In A Suitcase

The death of 24-year-old Valerie Reyes is not only tragic but also riddled with confusion and senselessness. It’s been two weeks since Reyes’s family and friends had reported her missing. A week later police confirmed that Reyes had been found in a suitcase, dead on the side of the road near Greenwich, Connecticut. Police began a search for her killer. Now they have a suspect behind bars — but the story about how all of this transpired is far from over.

Police have charged 24-year-old Javier Da Silva, who dated Valerie Reyes a year ago, in connection with her death and disappearance.

CREDIT: Credit: Instagram / @igotavisual

Da Silva told police that Reyes died after they met up for one last fling, the New York Post reports. Da Silva said that the young woman died as a result of falling on the floor and cracking her head open. The man from Queens did admit that in a panic after her fall, he covered her mouth with packing tape, and tied up her arms and legs, then forced her body into a red suitcase. The NY Post reports that police were able to find Da Silva through an ATM surveillance camera that showed him taking out $1,000 from Reyes’s bank account on Jan. 30.

Family and friends began to question Reyes’ whereabouts on Jan. 29 when she didn’t show up for her shift at her job. What is also strange about this story is that Reyes had told her mother that she was afraid someone was going to kill her. She never elaborated on who she was talking about.

“She was going on about how frightened she was in that apartment,” her mother, Norma Sanchez, told the New York Times. “She was hearing about all these murders of women. ‘I just can’t get it out of my head,'” her daughter said to her and added “‘I feel like somebody’s going to murder me.'”

While her friends and family hadn’t heard from her since Jan. 28, on Jan. 30, two different surveillance cameras that showed Reyes was in Manhattan around 2 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Investigators also said that the sheets, iPad, and iPhone were missing from Reyes’s apartment.

Da Silva — who holds dual citizenships from Venezuela and Portugal — is charged with federal kidnapping resulting in death. Da Silva also told the judge that he didn’t want the Venezuelan embassy to be informed of his arrest, but rather announce it to Portugal.

“Not Venezuela, Portugal,” Da Silva said.

“He failed to leave the United States within the required time frame,” ICE spokeswoman Rachael Yong Yow told Greenwich Time. And added that immigration authorities “‘will aim to take custody of Da Silva for immediate removal when he is released from criminal custody,’ if and when he released from jail.”

“Our heart is broken for the unfortunate and tragic loss of Valerie Reyes,” Reyes’s mother told the Greenwich Time.

CREDIT: Twitter/@tsizemorepix

“It was a blessing that they caught him so fast,” Reyes’s mother told Greenwich Time. “I’m hoping he gets life in prison — rot in there!”

She also said that she still has lots of questions surrounding her daughter’s death. She even knew her daughter and Da Silva had dated after they met on a dating website. She said that he was “never aggressive, but very persistent, the type not to take no for an answer. Weird.”

People have donated more than $31,000 to the family of Reyes via GoFundme.

“We want to show our love, support, and condolences to the Reyes family. Besides showing emotional support, we are asking friends and family to share and help them out with costs to lay her to rest,” reads the GoFundMe page. “All donations big or small are appreciated and helpful. Let’s keep the Reyes family in our prayers during this difficult time.”

READ: 5 Unsolved Murders That Have Left Families Shattered As They Search For Answers

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Golden State Killer Confesses To Rape And Murder, After Families Have Been Waiting For Decades

Things That Matter

Golden State Killer Confesses To Rape And Murder, After Families Have Been Waiting For Decades

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Although his crime spree took place more than thirty years ago, the Golden State Killer has only recently been held accountable for the unspeakable crimes he committed up and down the state of California.

Thanks to advancements in DNA testing, police found a suspect and this week the Golden State Killer confessed to dozens of crimes committed from Sacramento to San Diego.

His victim’s families have celebrated the move as a first step on the path towards justice for their loved ones.

One of California’s most prolific killers has pleased guilty to his crimes and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Golden State Killer terrorized California for more than a decade, before his trail went cold. After being arrested in 2018 thanks to advancements in DNA testing, Joseph DeAngelo was charged with several crimes (including burglaries and murders) and named as the Golden State Killer.

Since his arrest, police have been building a case against him and this week charged him with additional crimes, for which he has pled guilty to on all counts. He pled guilty to 13 counts of first-degree murder and special circumstances – including murder committed during burglaries and rapes -– as well as 13 counts of kidnapping, and he acknowledged more than 50 rapes he was not charged for because of California’s statute of limitations.

DeAngelo will be sentenced in August, and will kiley serve 11 consevutive life terms without the possibility of parole. According to Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Amy Holliday, he agreed to plead guilty to all charges to avoid the death penalty.

With his guilty plea, victim’s families will finally be able to face him in court and seek justice.

Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Some of the Golden State Killer’s victims, were raped or murdered as far back as 1974. So their families have been waiting for justice for decades.

After dozens of false leads and dead ends, the case was followed up on after advancements in DNA. And now, the Golden State Killer has been identified and charged with the crimes that have left dozens of families in untold pain.

The plea means that his victims can give their impact statements starting August 17 — much quicker than if he had gone to trial in a prosecution that the six district attorneys involved said might have taken as long as a decade.

“Today’s court proceeding brings us one step closer to ending the horrific saga of Joseph DeAngelo and his decades long crime spree,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said Monday in a news release. “In this case justice did not move swiftly, it was a long time coming. However, our victims remained steadfast and brave throughout this entire process.”

The Golden State Killer had a long crime spree and dozens of victims.

Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Although DeAngelo was just arrested in 2018, his crimes date back to 1974. He has admitted to burglaries, rapes, and murders ranging from northern to Southern California. He earned nicknames such as the Visalia Ransacker, the Diamond Knot Killer, the Original Night Stalker and the East Area Rapist. Officials only later realized the crimes were all the work of one man.

The former police officer, Vietnam War veteran and auto mechanic was arrested in April 2018 after police tracked him down by matching his DNA with a genealogy website.

Investigators created a family tree dating back to the 1800s in order to identify him as a suspect. Detectives followed him and collected a piece of rubbish he had thrown away, finding the same DNA recovered from several crime scenes.

Now, the Golden State Killer’s gripping crime story will be told in a six-part HBO series.

Just one day before DeAngelo pled guilty to all charges, HBO debuted a miniseries detailing his crimes and the victim’s stories. The series, based on author and researcher Michelle McNamara‘s own investigation, combines archives of footage and police files, as well as exclusive new interviews with detectives, survivors and relatives of DeAngelo.

McNamara remained focused on the victims of the crimes throughout her process, and she earned the right to “walk off with 37 boxes of Golden State Killer evidence, according to Assistant Orange County Public Defender Scott Sanders.

Court Documents Accuse Kobe Bryant And Other Passengers Of Being Negligent And Causing The Crash That Killed Them

Entertainment

Court Documents Accuse Kobe Bryant And Other Passengers Of Being Negligent And Causing The Crash That Killed Them

kobebryant / Twitter

This story is an update on an article published by Justin Lestner on January 27, 2020.

According to CNN, the brother of the pilot in the helicopter crash that killed nine people on board, including NBA great Kobe Bryant and his daughter, has accused the deceased passengers of being at fault and of negligence.

Berge Zobayan, who is listed as the successor of the pilot Ara Zobayan, his brother, filed papers accusing the passengers of being at fault for their own deaths.

“Attorneys for Berge Zobayan, listed as successor in interest for pilot Ara Zobayan, allege ‘any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent was directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent,'” according to CNN.

Zobayan’s claim comes as a response to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Vanessa Bryant and also underlines that the passengers were aware of the risks involved in flying.

Bryant’s complaint, which was issued on the day of the memorial service for her late husband and daughter Gigi Bryant accused Island Express, the helicopter company, and Ara Zobayan responsible for the crash.

Death of the 41-year-old basketball legend shook communities around the world.

Twitter

News broke in late January that the 41-year-old had died, along with nine others, in a tragic helicopter crash in the hills outside of Los Angeles. The identity of all aboard are still undisclosed at this time, pending further investigation and conversation with next of kin, according to an LA County Sheriff at a press briefing earlier today.

Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa Bryant, and three other daughters – Natalia Diamante, Bianka Bella, and Capri Kobe, who is only 7 months old.

While it was unclear who else was with Bryant at the time of his death, TMZ Sports confirmed that his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Onore, was one of the passengers who died in the accident. Gianna and Kobe were on their way to the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks.

Preliminary investigations report that the helicopter went down in dense fog that had grounded most other aircraft in the region.

Credit: Mark Terrill / Getty

Bryant was known to use his helicopter to commute between his home in Newport Beach and the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. However, for this journey, he was commuting to a sports academy in the Valley.

Los Angeles is known for dense fog and this Sunday morning was no different. In fact, the dense fog had led to the temporary suspension of flights from LAX and most other civilian helicopter operations.

As news of the star’s death spread, so too did the heartfelt messages of loss and grief.

Credit: ABC 7 LA

“[This] is why I don’t wait for tomorrow,” J Balvin wrote. “So many surprises in life that the present escapes us.” Dozens of others weighed in as well.

AOC sent her condolences to the victims and their families in a tweet saying: “Deeply shocked at the news of Kobe Bryant and four others lost today. Sending all my thoughts to their families and loved ones in this devastating moment.“

Bad Bunny had a special message about the super star’s untimely passing.

Credit: BadBunnyPR / Instagram

“I never would have imagined this would hurt so much!” he said. “I still remember the first time I saw a game of basketball at 7 years old with my dad, and it was a game with this genius, and from that day forward he became my favorite player x100pre!! I’ve never mentioned it because it doesn’t necessarily have to do with music, but this man has been an inspiration in many aspects for me to be who I am today. RIP GOAT!!! Rest in PEACE!!!! Thank you for inspiring me so much!! Thanks for so many emotions!!! How sad I feel!!! A legend is gone!! Along with a beautiful child and basketball promise, Gianna… It breaks my soul too know that I was going to meet, and share time, with you soon…”

And Anuel AA shared his take on the tragedy, one that many people could relate to.

“Wow, my hero died,” he said. “This is unbelievable. I’m here crying as if I knew him, heartbroken. Rest in peace, legend, you left a mark on the world. May God continue blessing his family and fill them with strength. Wow what sadness. [Kobe Bryant] your name will live forever.”

Kobe Bryant shared a special kinship with his Latino fans, who he said were the first to embrace him.

Credit: KobeBryant / Instagram

As the tributes pour in, many are remembering the impact Kobe had on LA’s Latino community.

A few years ago, he thanked the Latino community for their support.

“Latino fans are important to me, because when I arrived [in Los Angeles] they were the fans who most passionately embraced me,” he said. Bryant added that his Spanish was “not that good,” but this appeared to have been a modest assessment, as he routinely conducted full-length interviews in Spanish, which endeared him even more to Latino fans. He said that he was inspired to learn the language because of his wife and because his Latino fans “mean everything” to him. He told Univision in a separate interview that he learned Spanish through watching telenovelas with his family.

However, Bryant’s story wasn’t one without its blemishes. He was accused of sexual assault in 2003.

Credit: Jerome Nakagawa / Flickr

Bryant’s sexual assault case was another scandal that rocked the sport’s world and his own image. The charges brought against him were serious. He was accused of raping a hotel employee while at a Colorado resort – a claim that he denied saying the sexual encounter was consensual. The case was eventually settled out of court, according to The Guardian.

As much of the world is still in shock regarding the untimely loss of such an iconic man, his success as a basketball great will live on.