Javier Da Silva could face life in prison for the January 2019 attack
Valerie Reyes
| Credit: Greenwich Police

The ex-boyfriend of the 24-year-old woman whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase on the side of a Connecticut road has pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping charges, PEOPLE confirms.

Javier Da Silva, 25, admitted to kidnapping Valerie Reyes in January 2019 and taking her to Connecticut, where she was found dead nearly a week later.

According to statements made in court and reported by NBC News, Da Silva — who had previously dated Reyes — rented a car and drove to Reyes’ home in New Rochelle, New York, on Jan. 29, 2019. He then switched his phone onto airplane mode and kidnapped Reyes. According to his testimony, he covered her mouth with tape and bound her hands and feet. He said he placed her, still alive, in the suitcase.

He told the court that he did not kill her, but the Medical Examiner’s office previously found that the woman had suffocated to death.

Last year, Da Silva was arrested after fraudulently using Reyes’ ATM card, taking more than $5,000 out of her account. “We saw continued ATM activity and that’s what zeroed us in,” Police Capt. Robert Berry said at a press conference shortly after Da Silva’s arrest.

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Valerie Reyes, 24, of New Rochelle, New York, “was a good soul,” her mother said, the Journal News reports
| Credit: Greenwich Police

In a statement after the conviction, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said he was pleased with the results.

“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,” Berman wrote in a statement. “Thanks to the excellent work of the FBI and our local law enforcement partners, Da Silva is now facing serious consequences.”

Da Silva pleaded guilty to one federal count of kidnapping, which carries a maximum term of life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in May.