A former NYPD homicide detective has weighed in on the mysterious, violent death of a young woman found stuffed in a suitcase last week in Greenwich, Connecticut, an upscale town about an hour from New York City.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, authorities identified the homicide victim as 24-year-old Valerie Reyes, a resident of New Rochelle, New York, who been reported missing the week before, when she did not appear for her job at a bookstore in nearby Eastchester.
Authorities have not yet determined a cause of death, and are reportedly waiting on the results of toxicology tests, which could take several weeks. Little is known about the condition of the body, outside of reports that the victim was bound at the hands and feet.
As reported by LoHud.com, police in Greenwich have said they do not believe that Reyes was killed at the location where her body was found last Tuesday morning by town workers cleaning up trash along Glenville Road.
And Vernon Geberth, a retired NYPD lieutenant-commander, believes that Reyes’ killer may have intentionally separated the crime scenes in order to confuse investigators.
“The killer wanted to complicate the investigation and separate himself from the event by jurisdiction,” Geberth said in an interview with the Stamford Advocate.
“They’re behind the 8-ball because they don’t have a crime scene,” he said, reportedly referring to the Greenwich Police Department. “We don’t know where she was killed.”
“The dynamics of the homicide are in Westchester,” Geberth continued. “Connecticut has the body so they get stuck with the case.”
This past weekend, CrimeOnline communicated with a man who identified himself as Reyes’ boyfriend. He said that he has been speaking to and cooperating with police, but indicated that he is working with the New Rochelle Police Department.
Neither the Greenwich Police Department or the New Rochelle Police Department have responded to inquiries from CrimeOnline.
That purported boyfriend said in a Twitter message exchange that he felt as though the media had cast him as a suspect, which was compounding the pain of the loss. Authorities have not named any suspects or persons of interest. Last week, Reyes’ mother Norma Sanchez told LoHud.com that Reyes had broken up with her boyfriend less than a week before she disappeared, and told the New York Times that Reyes had feared for her life the night before went missing.
“I feel like somebody’s going to murder me,” Reyes said, according to Sanchez, who told LoHud.com that she was unaware of any specific threat against her daughter, and said that she did not think Reyes was worried about her ex-boyfriend.
Geberth said that the clues — particularly the manner in which her body was found — strongly suggest that the killer was no stranger, and likely murdered Reyes in the heat of the moment.
“Every suitcase body I ever had they were known to each other, with the exception of the Mafia,” he told the newspaper.
“What happens with a crime of passion is a person hasn’t thought about what they’re going to do with the body.”
Further, Geberth said, “The fact that the young woman told her mother that she was afraid for her life indicates that she knew her her murderer.”
CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
[Feature image: Valerie Reyes/NYPD]