Ex-Boyfriend Arrested in Death of Woman Found in Suitcase

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A former boyfriend of a young bookstore clerk whose body was stuffed into a suitcase and dumped in a wooded lot in Greenwich, Conn., was arrested on Tuesday in connection with her death, the police said.

The man, Javier de Silva, was taken into custody in New York City after he used an A.T.M. card that belonged to the victim, Valerie Reyes, 24, of New Rochelle, law-enforcement officials said.

The Greenwich police said in a statement, “The arrested individual is also believed to be involved in the death of Valerie.”

The arrest in the federal case, being prosecuted by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, followed dozens of interviews with witnesses and the review of hundreds of hours of surveillance footage, the Greenwich police said.

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Ms. Reyes told her mother the night before she went missing that she feared for her life.Creditvia Norma Sanchez

Ms. Reyes was last seen near the New Rochelle train station on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The night before, she had called her mother, Norma Sanchez, in a panic. “She was going on about how frightened she was in that apartment,” Ms. Sanchez said last week. She told her mother: “I feel like somebody’s going to murder me.”

Ms. Sanchez said she was aware that her daughter had recently broken up with a boyfriend, and she specifically asked if she feared him. “No,” her daughter replied. Ms. Reyes lived in the basement apartment of a home that contained several other tenants, including her father, Ms. Sanchez noted.

Ms. Reyes never showed up for work that Tuesday. She was a clerk at a Barnes & Noble store in Scarsdale. The following day, however, she was in New York City. The police in New Rochelle told Ms. Sanchez that her daughter was seen on surveillance video exiting a Chase Bank branch near Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 6:30 a.m.

Ms. Sanchez said this week that she had taken comfort from this sighting, and believed her daughter was seeking refuge in the safety of city crowds and would come home when she felt ready. “She was planning to stay for a while,” Ms. Sanchez recalled thinking.

The following week, on Feb. 5, highway workers in Greenwich made a grim discovery in a wooded area beside Glenville Road, near Stillman Lane, an area dotted with large estates and “No Trespassing” signs. A suitcase in the woods contained Ms. Reyes’s body, bound at the hands and feet. The area is about 14 miles from Ms. Reyes’s apartment.

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