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A 24-year-old New York woman with reported depression and anxiety issues was identified by a medical examiner Thursday as the person whose body — bound at the hands and feet — was discovered earlier in the week stuffed into a large red suitcase ditched on a roadside in an affluent Connecticut town.
Valerie Reyes, of New Rochelle, N.Y., was reported missing Jan. 30, a day after she was last seen, according to ABC7 New York. Reyes’ cause of death wasn’t immediately clear; but on Tuesday — the same day cops made the gruesome suitcase find — Greenwich Police Department Captain Robert Berry said authorities were investigating the death as a homicide.
“Her family was advised of the positive identification last night. They are obviously devastated by the loss of Valerie and our heartfelt condolences go out to them,” Berry said, according to ABC7 New York. “The Greenwich Police Department is dedicated to identifying those responsible for the death of Valerie and ensuring justice for her and her family.”
Highway workers on Tuesday had stumbled upon Reyes’ remains after discovering the suitcase sitting about 10-15 feet from Glenville Road in Greenwich, the town’s police said. Reyes was described as being clothed but reportedly had her hands and feet bound.
The New York Police Department Midtown North Precinct tweeted about Reyes in hopes someone who recognized her could help fill in the blanks about the final days of the Westchester County woman’s life.
“Have you seen Valerie Reyes?? 5’3”, black hair, brown eyes, ½ sleeve tattoo on left arm. Last seen wearing a green coat, black jeans, and black shoes. Suffers from anxiety and depression,” the message said.
The day of the suitcase’s discovery marked a week since anyone had reported seeing Reyes. Though it wasn’t immediately clear what other evidence was collected at the scene, investigators soon honed in on Reyes as possibly being the mystery woman, with officers going to Reyes’ home in New Rochelle later Tuesday night, News 12 Westchester reported.
Additionally, an unidentified highway worker was being investigated after allegedly snapping unauthorized photos of Reyes’ body, according to The Hartford Courant and ABC7 New York.
The grisly roadside discovery in Greenwich shocked residents of the elite enclave.
“I feel like this neighborhood is relatively safe, so it’s a surprise. Finding a body near where you live, it’s concerning,” Liza Scullin, a resident, told Greenwich Time.
“We’re supposed to be the safest towns in America or at least one of them,” said Melissa Klinka, who’s also a member of the Greenwich community. “So something like this makes people uncomfortable.”
Reyes worked at a Barnes & Noble store in Eastchester, N.Y., since the location opened more than two years ago, according to the chain.
“The entire Barnes & Noble community is grieving the loss of our beloved employee Valerie Reyes,” Barnes & Noble said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to her family, friends, and coworkers during this difficult time.”
Lauren Bradford, who worked with Reyes, said the young woman planned to train to become a tattoo artist.
“Horrified. Absolutely horrified,” said Bradford, 19. “I’m just like totally shocked. She was a confidant. She really encouraged me and my aspirations. She had a really bright future. She was really excited about her art and her goals.”
No arrests have been announced. Investigators have asked anyone with information on the case to contact 203-622-3333.