Former Federal Employee Admits to Fatal Kidnapping of Estranged Wife

In 2016, Eddy Reyes, then 38 and a former civilian employee at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges related to the murder of his wife, Claudia Sanchez Reyes. The incident, which culminated in Claudia’s death by strangulation, reflects the calculated actions Reyes took to facilitate this outcome. This guilty plea confirms Reyes’ involvement in the deliberate act that led to his wife’s murder.

Law enforcement officials arrested Eddy Reyes in April 2021, after which he remained in federal custody awaiting trial. Reyes entered a guilty plea for the charge of kidnapping resulting in death, an offense that typically carries the potential for a life sentence under federal law. However, in this specific case, the plea agreement negotiated between Reyes’s defense and the federal prosecutors stipulates a recommended sentence not exceeding 30 years. This agreement reflects considerations possibly including Reyes’s cooperation or aspects of the case mitigating a harsher sentence.

Background and Motive

Eddy Reyes and Claudia Sanchez Reyes initially met in El Salvador in 2014. Following their meeting, Reyes facilitated Claudia’s move to the United States, where the couple eventually married. Over time, Reyes began to suspect Claudia of infidelity, which culminated in his decision to murder her in 2016. The decision set off a series of calculated steps by Reyes to execute the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Claudia, showcasing a clear premeditation in his actions. This sequence of events led to the tragic outcome, deeply rooted in Reyes’s suspicions and resulting in a meticulously planned criminal act.

Execution of the Crime

On the evening of May 6, 2016, Eddy Reyes planned a faux dinner outing to persuade his wife, Claudia, to forgo her usual Uber ride and instead accompany him. He utilized a rented Hyundai Santa Fe for both the pickup and transportation. Reyes directed them to his mother’s residence in Orange, California, which he had designated as the location for the murder. In the garage of this house, his estranged half-brother, identified in court documents as “P.O.,” emerged from a concealed position within the vehicle. P.O. then physically assaulted Claudia and fatally strangled her using a seatbelt. This assault was a deliberate act, with P.O.’s role being critical in carrying out the murder.

Aftermath and Cover-Up

Following the murder of Claudia, Reyes initiated a series of actions to mislead investigators and Claudia’s family regarding her whereabouts and the circumstances of her disappearance. He manipulated Claudia’s phone, sending deceptive text messages to her colleagues to imply she would not return to work, and to her family suggesting she had chosen to leave him for another man. These messages aimed to fabricate the scenario of Claudia seeking a separation. On May 19, 2016, Reyes took steps to eliminate any link to the crime by disposing of key evidence, including items involved in the murder, at Los Angeles International Airport. He further obscured his involvement by filing a missing person report days after her disappearance, while pretending to be unaware of her location. A thorough police investigation later uncovered significant forensic evidence, such as a blood drop in the rented Hyundai Santa Fe, connecting Reyes to the crime and exposing his attempts to obstruct justice.

Legal Proceedings and Sentencing

The investigation into the murder of Claudia Sanchez Reyes required the extensive collaboration of multiple law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the Santa Ana Police Department, and other local and federal entities. United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton is set to deliver Reyes’ sentencing on August 2, concluding the judicial proceedings of a case characterized by its egregious nature and the profound betrayal of trust by Reyes. His guilty plea was the culmination of compelling evidence brought forth by the prosecution, which illustrated his calculated planning and execution of the crime. The plea agreement proposes a maximum of 30 years imprisonment.

How Would You Like Us To Contact You?(required)

Write a Reply or Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.