Los Angeles/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 19, 2024
Betrayal Behind the Badge, Ex-Border Patrol Employee Pleads Guilty in Estranged Wife's Murder PlotSource: Brian Turner, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a harrowing display of betrayal and violence, Eddy Reyes, a former employee of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, has pled guilty to kidnapping his wife, leading to her tragic murder in 2016. Reyes was arrested in April 2021 and has been held in federal custody since then.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California, Reyes, 38, concocted a plan to lure Claudia Sanchez Reyes, his estranged wife, under the guise of a dinner invitation and then sadistically had her strangled to death. The couple had a history of domestic issues, with Claudia having secured temporary restraining orders against him in both 2014 and 2016. United States Attorney Martin Estrada stated, "Those who commit horrific acts of violence of this sort will feel the full weight of the law."

On the fateful night of May 6, 2016, Reyes reportedly picked up Claudia from work in a rented vehicle and drove her to his mother's house, where his estranged half-brother and accomplice, P.O., emerged from hiding to attack and kill her. In a further attempt to mislead the authorities and Claudia's family, Reyes used her cellphone to fabricate messages indicating that she had left to start a new life.

The deception didn’t end there, Reyes, after disposing of evidence connected to the crime, filed a missing person report for Claudia days later. Detectives later found a single drop of Claudia's blood in the rental car and a trained police dog signaled that a dead body had been present. "The hard work by investigators and prosecutors in this case leading to today's guilty plea will hopefully bring a measure of justice to Claudia’s family in El Salvador," told Mehtab Syed, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office, as per the U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California.

Reyes now faces the possibility of life imprisonment, though in exchange for his guilty plea federal prosecutors have recommended a sentence of no more than 30 years. He is scheduled for sentencing on August 2 as set by United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton. The case saw a joint investigation by various agencies including the FBI and the Santa Ana Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Gregory W. Staples of the Santa Ana Branch Office is prosecuting the case.