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‘Rot’ in prison: Mother of slain woman relieved after arrest

February 12, 2019

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Norma Sanchez found out that her daughter’s accused killer had been arrested just hours before she gathered with family and friends to celebrate the young woman’s life.

“It was a blessing that they caught him so fast,” Sanchez said Tuesday afternoon at the calling hours for her daughter at Lloyd Maxcy & Sons Beauchamp Chapel in New Rochelle.

Police detectives came to her door at 10:30 Tuesday morning to tell her of the arrest of Javier da Silva of Flushing, Queens. “I was ecstatic,” Sanchez said.

“I’m hoping he gets life in prison — rot in there!” she said in an interview with Greenwich Time.

Sanchez had met da Silva only once or twice when he was dating her daughter, Valerie Reyes, back in 2017. She thinks her daughter met him on an online dating site.

And despite the arrest, Sanchez has many questions about the death of her 24-year-old daughter, who went missing Jan. 30 from New Rochelle. Reyes was found a week later, on Feb. 5, off the side of Glenville Road in Greenwich, with her body stuffed in a suitcase and her hands and feet bound.

“I have so many questions,” Sanchez said.

The night before she left her New Rochelle apartment abruptly, Reyes told her mother that was upset. “At the beginning, she was paranoid and depressed,” Sanchez said. “A lot of anxiety.”

Sanchez recalled a few details that she remembered about da Silva. He liked horror movies and was “never aggressive, but very persistent, the type not to take no for an answer. Weird,” she said.

Reyes’ father, brother and other family members declined to comment. Sanchez said they appreciated the outpouring by their daughter’s friends, classmates and co-workers.

“Very comforting. So much love and support,” Sanchez said of the crowd at the funeral home.

Friends who began to gather Tuesday afternoon at a funeral home in New Rochelle for calling hours to mourn Reyes expressed relief that a suspect had been arrested. Many knew Reyes from work or from school. Others are friends of her parents and wanted to show support.

“She was a good soul, a good person,” said Steve Costa, who worked with her at Costco. “She didn’t go with the drama, the gossip. ... She was the sweetest girl you could meet; always had a smile on her face.”

“I’m glad that someone is held responsible,” Costa said. “I hope the law gives him the firm end of the stick when it comes to justice.”

A former classmate recalled that he and Reyes “frequently spent lunch together on a break in the library, catching up and talking,” when they attended New Rochelle High School together.

The man, who did not want to be identified, said, “I’m just glad there is finally justice for Valerie.”

A friend from middle school who declined to give her name said Reyes was a fighter and that they had bonded over their common struggles with depression and anxiety.

Her friends remembered Reyes, who worked at Barnes & Noble in Eastchester, for her artistic talents and hard-working nature.

A funeral Mass for Reyes will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Gabriel’s Church, 120 Division St., New Rochelle.

Da Silva was arrested by New Rochelle Police Detectives, accompanied by Greenwich Police Detectives. After being taken into custody on Monday night in Queens, da Silva “admitted a role in the death of Valerie Reyes,” Greenwich Police Capt. Robert Berry said. Da Silva was held in federal custody after his arrest and arraigned late Tuesday afternoon.

“Multiple crime scenes had been examined, hundreds of hours of surveillance footage had been reviewed, and numerous interviews of potential witnesses had been conducted,” Berry said. “Additionally, social media footprints and records from a variety of sources have been analyzed.”

“We are confident that the pursuit of justice for Valerie will be successful and we continue to work with the family to provide closure to this tragedy,” he said.

Reyes, who lived in New Rochelle and worked at a Barnes & Noble in Eastchester, was reported missing on Jan. 30 by her family. On Feb. 5, a highway worker found her body, stuffed in a suitcase and bound at the hands and feet, on the side of Glenville Road near Stillman Lane. She was found 10 to 15 feet off the road, in a wooded area by a turnaround not far from the New York border.

Autopsy results from the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner are pending.

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