A local newspaper has identified the man who is accused of taking photos of a murder victim found stuffed in a suitcase in Greenwich, Connecticut, earlier this week.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, police identified the homicide victim as 24-year-old Valerie Reyes, who had been reported missing from her home in nearby New Rochelle in late January.
Although officials have not yet confirmed the identity of the highway worker who allegedly took photos of the victim, the Greenwich Time reports that multiple sources have said the worker in question is James Clifford, a Department of Public Works foreman who, according to the new report, was not the first to discover the suitcase near Glenville Road in the wealthy community about an hour from New York City.
Another highway worker reportedly alerted Clifford to the discovery of the suitcase with a body inside of it on Tuesday morning. It is not known when or how the suitcase was opened. According to the Greenwich Time, Clifford took photos of the victim and the surrounding scene and allegedly “disseminated” the photos, though it is unclear how the photos were shared.
The Greenwich Police Department has not yet said if Clifford, who has reportedly been put on administrative leave, can be expected to face any criminal charges.
But he has secured an attorney: Lindy R. Urso is reportedly representing Clifford, and told the Greenwich Time that his client was shaken by the traumatic discovery, which compromised his judgement, but that he meant no harm in taking photos.
“He was stunned and devastated by what he found – he has a daughter of similar age and stature – and it was an obvious error in judgment to take a picture – but he certainly had no ill will or bad intention,” Urso told the news outlet. “In fact he has done all he can to help police mitigate any fallout from that momentary lapse.”
The lawyer continued: “One would think that (Greenwich police) would want to use all of their resources trying to find out who murdered this poor woman rather than trying to make a scapegoat of Mr. Clifford.”
According to another report in the Greenwich Time, police are not expected to release further information about the murder investigation on Friday. An autopsy conducted on Wednesday is believed to have helped identify the victim, but authorities have not yet released a cause of death.