A Flushing man is pleading guilty to kidnapping charges a year after he was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and stuffing her in a suitcase.
In February 2019, police arrested Javier Da Silva in connection with the murder of New Rochelle resident Valerie Reyes. A Greenwich, Connecticut highway worker found Reyes’ body bound at the hands and feet inside of a suitcase on the side of a local road.
According to recent reports, court records showed that 25-year-old Da Silva pleaded guilty on Feb. 5 in the U.S. District Court in White Plains, New York. If convicted on the federal charge of kidnapping, he faces 30 years to life in prison.
Surveillance footage showed Da Silva leaving his Flushing apartment on Jan. 28 wearing an all black outfit and driving a black Honda CR-V. Court documents placed Da Silva and the black Honda near Reyes’ apartment a few hours later in the early morning of Jan 29.
Reyes’ mother, father and then-boyfriend had reported her missing on Jan. 30, after she failed to show up for her job at a local Barnes and Noble.
Days later, New Rochelle police arrested Da Silva after he was found withdrawing $1,000 using Reyes’ ATM card. But new information from the U.S. Court of the Southern District of New York showed that Da Silva stole approximately $5,350 from her account and sold Reyes’ iPad days after her death.
“As he admitted today in court, Javier Da Silva committed a horrid kidnapping that resulted in the tragic death of Valerie Reyes, a young woman with her entire adult life ahead of her. Thanks to the excellent work of the FBI and our local law enforcement partners, Da Silva is now facing serious consequences,” wrote U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman in a statement.
Da Silva claimed that he and Reyes had sex in her New Rochelle apartment and she “fell to the floor and hit her head.”
According to the criminal complaint, Da Silva then used packing tape to bind her mouth and limbs before putting her unconscious body in a suitcase. He allegedly packed the suitcase in his car and left her body in “a forest,” which led to her dying by suffocation.
Reyes’ family confirmed that the pair had dated but broke up in 2018, about a year before the young woman’s death.
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Da Silva was a citizen of both Venezuela and Portugal but overstayed his visa at the time the crime was committed.
Da Silva’s sentencing date is May 21, 2020.