February 12, 2019
On the 5th of February 2019, a highway worker in Greenwich, Connecticut discovered a large, red, abandoned suitcase in a wooded tract, just 15 feet from the highway. The worker cautiously approached the discarded luggage near Glenville road and unzipped it to reveal the grisly contents. Inside the case was the fully clothed body of a young woman with her wrists and ankles bound. The worker pulled out his phone and contacted the local police to report the discovery, but before he returned the cellular device to his pocket, he snapped several pictures of the victim. The worker would later be relieved from his position for the insensitive indiscretion.
An autopsy was performed, but the cause of death was not publicly released. Police believed that the victim had not been murdered at the location they found her at, but transported there and dumped. Although it was difficult to determine at a glance, they would later come to the conclusion that they were dealing with a homicide.
Two days later the victim would be identified as a 24 year old woman from New Rochelle, New York, named Valerie Reyes. Valerie worked at a book store in Eastchester, but had aspirations of eventually training to be a tattoo artist. She was a pretty, petite young woman, standing at 5”3 with long black hair and a half sleeve of tattoos on one arm. Miss Reyes had been missing from her home in NYC for a week before her body was discovered. When she was publicly identified media outlets ran with the headline: “Woman found dead in suitcase had premonition of her death day before being murdered.” Although the headlines sounded exaggerated or sensationalized there was an eerie truth to them.
The night before she disappeared, Valarie Reyes made a foreboding phone call to her mother, Norma Sanchez, after jolting out of her sleep due to a panic attack. Valerie told her mother that she felt anxious and afraid, as if something bad was about to happen to her. A phone call of this nature is not something out of the ordinary for someone like Valerie who suffered from depression and anxiety. The fear was likely amplified as she sat alone in the dark in her basement apartment.
The 24 year old had split up with her boyfriend only several days earlier and she suddenly found herself staying alone in her apartment. On top of the recent breakup, she confessed to Norma that she had been reading crime stories about the murders of young women and had begun to feel a little paranoid being by herself.
Norma Sanchez was understandably concerned for the safety of her daughter and asked if there was someone else with her at the apartment who intended to harm her, such as an angry ex, perhaps? According to a local newspaper neighbors had heard the couple arguing a few days before. Valerie said there was no one else with her at the residence, but went on to make an unsettling prediction:
“I feel like somebody’s going to murder me” she said.
This would be the last time Norma ever spoke to her daughter, who she described as panicked and having difficulty communicating that night.
The next day Valerie failed to turn up for her shift at the Barnes and Noble branch in Eastchester, where she had been employed for almost 3 years. She was officially reported missing by her family the following day on the 31st.
Police launched a search in the local and surrounding area and began to talk with her family and friends. They learned of a sighting near the train station in Greenwich and obtained surveillance tapes from businesses in the area and watched through them looking for any trace of the missing young woman. One tape from the 30th of January submitted by Chase bank, on 51 West 51st Street, showed Miss Reyes making an early morning visit at around 6:30AM. The trail went cold from there.
There were no further leads available to determine what became of Valarie that night until the discovery of the suitcase around a week later.
Valerie’s family sought out the help of a private investigator as soon as they realized she was missing. Through his own research, the PI claimed that the last possible sighting of Valerie was on The 30th of January in Manhattan (at around 2 in the morning). He said she had used an ATM machine.
Valerie Reyes did not give any specific reason for her paranoia and fear in the call with her mother, nor did she mention the names of any potential culprits. Her family speculates that her ex-boyfriend, whom she’d only split with a few days earlier may have had a part in Valerie’s disappearance, but the reality is that nobody knows what happened.
Greenwich is an affluent little town that has been shaken by the discovery of a homicide victim in its midst. Greenwich is around a 15 – 20 minute drive from New Rochelle. In an interview with “Greenwich Time”, Vernon J. Geberth, a retired lieutenant-commander of the Bronx Homicide task force put in his two cents; he believes that the Valerie’s killer may have chosen Greenwich as the dumping site to further complicate the investigation by throwing jurisdictional issues into the mix. He believes that the culprit was aware that the case would become more complicated if they crossed county lines. Gerbeth has authored a book on the topic of homicide investigation titled “Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques” and regularly comments on homicide cases in NYC.
Police have already searched Valerie Reyes' apartment and were photographed leaving the residence with bags of evidence. The forensic evidence found on Valerie’s body has been sent for testing.
Check back for updates on the case.
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