Husband of missing O.C. woman indicted for kidnapping her

Nearly five years ago, Claudia Sanchez Reyes was seen leaving her workplace one evening at El Pollo Loco in Garden Grove. She told a co-worker her husband Eddy Reyes, who she alleged physically and sexually assaulted her during their marriage, was waiting outside to take her dancing.

Then she disappeared.

This week Eddy Reyes, 35, was indicted by a federal grand jury, charged with kidnapping his wife, which resulted in her death.

Reyes, an employee at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Long Beach office, has been held without bond since his arrest April 15. He could face the death penalty or life in prison if found guilty.

Claudia Reyes’ body was never found. A drop of her blood was found in a rented SUV that it’s believed her husband picked her up in on May 6, 2016, the last time she was seen, according to court documents. A specially trained cadaver dog picked up the scent of a dead body in the car’s back seat and rear storage area.

Co-workers at the fast-food restaurant said Reyes argued with her husband on the phone that day, and that he had called back to apologize and asked her to go out that night — something she didn’t want to do because they were supposed to move to a new apartment in Anaheim two days later, according to court documents.

Instead of going dancing, the two went to his mother’s house, where Claudia Reyes reluctantly left her 4-year-old son to be baby-sat, according to court documents.

Maria Orellana, Eddy Reyes’ mother, “hated Claudia, and once told her that she and [Eddy] Reyes could kill Claudia and take her child,” the criminal complaint states.

Investigators believe Reyes, who media reports said was 21 when she disappeared, was killed that night or early the next morning.

Surveillance footage showed Reyes and her son leaving the couple’s Santa Ana apartment on the morning she disappeared. She’s never seen on camera there again, but her phone traveled there the following day with Eddy Reyes, court documents state.

Reyes told homicide detectives the last time he saw his wife was when he dropped her off at a Santa Ana McDonald’s on the night of May 7 so she could go dancing with girlfriends, court documents state. Investigators said that call records did not indicate either of the couple’s phones in the area that night.

Earlier on May 7, court documents say messages from Claudia Reyes’ phone were sent to a paralegal for a law office assisting her with divorce and a restraining order, saying she was leaving for New York to be with another man and no longer loved her husband and son. A similar message was sent to her mother around the same time. Desperate calls to her phone by family and friends were not returned.

Court documents paint the Reyes’ marriage as troubled, with Claudia Reyes alleging that her husband was physically and psychologically abusive and had threatened her life. He at one point hired a man to steal her cellphone, and another man to surveil her, suspecting her of infidelity. She had taken two temporary restraining orders against her husband — including one less than two months before she went missing.

“I am frightened that my husband will hurt our son, me and/or himself,” Claudia Reyes wrote in her declaration of support for the 2016 restraining order, according to court documents. “He is very violent and has a quick temper when things don’t go his way.”

Eddy Reyes is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday in U.S District Court in Santa Ana.

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