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: 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.

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“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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Street Vendor By The Name Of Lorenzo Pérez Murdered Execution Style — “The person who killed my dad took away a part of me”

Things That Matter

Street Vendor By The Name Of Lorenzo Pérez Murdered Execution Style — “The person who killed my dad took away a part of me”

Like many street vendors, 45-year-old Lorenzo Pérez sold food to support his family.

Married and the father of four children ages 15, 13, 9, and 1, Perez is described by friends and family as being well known amongst neighborhood residents. He was often seen working alongside his daughter who helped him on occasion. Now, the community and family who knew Perez well are in mourning, after he was shot in broad daylight while doing his job.

Perez died after he being shot in the head in southeast Fresno on Sunday afternoon.

Fresno Police were called to the scene of a possible robbery at Alta and Pierce Avenues, near Kings Canyon and Willow around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. On the way to the scene, the police officers learned that a street vendor had been shot once in the head.

According to reports, Perez was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center where he ultimately died.

Witnesses of the murder told officers that a man had beckoned Perez to come over to him in a way that suggested he was going to purchase something from him.

According to police reports, when Perez walked up to the suspect, the man pulled out a gun and shot the vendor. He then stole a few items, which have not been identified, and flew the scene. Witnesses told police officers that they’d seen the man loitering around the area before the shooting.

A local news station reported that “Officers are now looking into surveillance footage from the area to try and identify the shooter… Through a statement, Fresno City Council President Luis Chavez announced that he will be offering a $5000 reward for information leading to the shooter’s arrest.”

“The coward that murdered our food vendor, turn yourself in and face the consequences. You’ve brought tremendous pain to a family and our city,” Chavez exclaimed in the statement.

To help the Perez family, Councilmember Esmeralda Soria set up a GoFundMe account which has already raised $141,780 out of its $125,000 goal.

Perez’s son, Isai, described his father in a recent interview as a “great man.”

“My father was a great man. He was a great father, a great husband, a great friend,” he said in an interview. “He spread love and kindness. He was about fairness, he wanted to share his happiness. He meant no harm. He didn’t deserve to go like this. The person who killed my dad took away a part of me. My dad went through everything for us. He took away my father. He took away the opportunity of me being with him in his last moments and it’s heartbreaking. I hope they find the murderer soon.”

If you have any information on the shooting please call Valley Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP.

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Retired Detective Rafael Tovar Recalls Working John Wayne Gacy Case In New Peacock Docuseries

Entertainment

Retired Detective Rafael Tovar Recalls Working John Wayne Gacy Case In New Peacock Docuseries

John Wayne Gacy shocked the world with is violent and terrifying crimes. The serial killer operated in the Chicago suburbs and killed at least 33 people. “John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise” digs deep into the story that true crime enthusiasts think they know.

Peacock is releasing a new true-crime docuseries “John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise.”

NBC News Studios is bringing a new true-crime docuseries to the streaming world with “John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise.” The documentary promises to take even those who know the story of John Wayne Gacy through parts of the case and serial killer that few know.

The docuseries relies on interviews from law enforcement, neighbors, victims, and family members affected by the murders. Retired Detective Rafael Tovar and Executive Producer Alexa Danner spoke with mitú about working the the case and creating the docuseries.

Tovar was the first Spanish-speaking police officer in the Chicago suburbs in 1970. Eight years later, Tovar was helping to unravel the horrific murders committed by John Wayne Gacy.

“It was a phase into the case because when we first started, we were working on a missing person report for one person, never figuring that it was going to turn out to be what it turned out to be,” Tovar recalls about the case. “It was something new every day until we started digging that’s when everything broke loose, and it became the case of a lifetime for a police officer.”

The former Des Plaines detective remembers the moment that case was going to be much more than anticipated. Around December 21, when the officers executed a second warrant on John Wayne Gacy’s suburban home, Tovar and other authorities made gruesome discoveries. Tovar remembers digging under the house with an evidence technician when they discover three left femurs. The bones were too decayed to belong to the last victim, Robert Piest.

“The John Wayne Gacy story has certainly been told multiple times over the year and I think that there is a sense that there’s a narrative out there that is known and accepted,” Alexa Danner, an executive producer on the docuseries says. “What we really found as we began to produce this documentary was that there are a lot of questions that remain about the case. There’s a lot of mystery still surrounding it.”

Danner promises that even those who think they know the John Wayne Gacy story well will learn new things about the crimes. “John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise” talks to people never interviewed before and takes a hard look at the case like never before.

The investigation into John Wayne Gacy changed law enforcement practices drastically. Procedures were adjusted to better assist with missing persons reports, especially children. Tovar also shared that John Wayne Gacy himself claimed to have had other victims.

“I was transferring him from our police lockup to the county lockup. Just in conversation, I asked him, ‘John. There are a lot of numbers going around. How many people did you kill?’ and he said, ‘Well, I’ve said this, I’ve said that, but 45 sounds like a good number.’ So I asked him, ‘Well, where are they?’ He said, ‘No. That’s your job to find out,’” Tovar recalls about that conversation. “He was the type of guy that knew that you knew something or that you were going to find out, he’d be totally honest with you. If he didn’t think that you were going to find out, he liked to play mind games with you. I believe him. Everything else he told me was true, so I believe that there are more out there.”

The show will take people through Gacy’s life before the violent attacks he became known for after his arrest. It will show people the life he had in Iowa that might have been a warning sign of things to come. The docuseries explores lingering questions about his mother’s ignorance about her son’s dealings and questions about the real body count.

Danner recalls a psychiatric report done on Gacy after his arrest that should have given everyone pause.

“It essentially said that this man would not stop behaving like this. There’s no known way to stop his behavior or change it,” Danner says. “To look back ten years before he’s arrested for all of these killing and know that he was already being assessed that way or diagnosed that way is really troubling and horrible.”

“John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise” will be available for streaming March 25 on Peacock.

READ: New Netflix Docuseries Explores The Summer The Night Stalker Terrorized Los Angeles

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