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Suspect in Suitcase Murder of Valerie Reyes May Be Nearing a Plea Deal with Prosecutors


In a case that shocked the town of Greenwich, Connecticut and people all across the country, Valerie Reyes, 24, was found dead in a suitcase on the side of the road in February 2019. Not long after that, her 24-year-old ex-boyfriend Javier da Silva was charged with murder. Although he admitted to disposing of her body, he claimed that he panicked after she accidentally fell and hit her head.

A couple of months have passed since then, and not a whole lot of new information about the case has come out. Now there appears to be an under-the-radar reason why. It seemed a pair of local news outlets–the Greenwich Time and Greenwich Patch-were the only ones who noticed that the case may soon be resolved without a trial. CBS New York’s Tony Aiello, however, was even earlier to the underreported development.

According to the reports, da Silva’s defense lawyers have been in talks with prosecutors about a plea deal and seemingly set “early May” as a deadline for reaching said deal.

“The government and defense counsel have had discussions regarding a possible disposition of this case as recently as March 2019,” federal prosecutors said in court documents two weeks ago. “The negotiations have not been completed and we plan to continue our discussions.”

A Department of Justice spokesman confirmed that they are “working to find a resolution of the case without a trial.” The murder charge against da Silva means he could  get the death penalty or life in prison. It seems likely that any deal would mean the death penalty is off the table.

Da Silva, a 24-year-old Venezuelan-Portuguese dual citizen who was overstaying his visa in Queens, N.Y., was arrested in February for Reyes’ kidnapping and death. Reyes was last seen on Jan. 29 and NYPD sent out an alert on Jan. 31 reporting her as missing. Police said that they discovered that da Silva used Reyes’ ATM card in New York. The investigation reportedly included reviewing more than 100 hours of surveillance video, social media analysis, and witness interviews.

Law enforcement experts with decades of experience investigating murders said from the start that the nature of the killing seemed “interpersonal” and that Reyes’ killer was known to her. The victim’s mother Norma Sanchez even said that she had a conversation with her daughter the night before she disappeared. She said that Reyes feared that she would be murdered but didn’t say by whom.

“She didn’t mention anything. She didn’t mention no one specific,” Sanchez said. “She just mentioned, ‘I’m really, really scared. I’m paranoid, mommy. I’m getting anxiety attacks.’”

“I’m afraid someone is going to murder me,” she recalled her daughter saying. Da Silva reportedly confessed to putting packing tape over Reyes’ mouth and disposing of her body in the suitcase, but said he did so after they had sex at her apartment and Reyes fell and hit her head. Reyes’ mother said that Reyes supported da Silva while his mother was dying of cancer. She recalled da Silva being “really pushy” and the type who “wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

“[M]y daughter started getting really frustrated with him, and it ended quick,” she told the aforementioned Tony Aiello. She said they dated over eight months.

[Image via ABC News screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.