A Covina man who worked at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office in Long Beach pleaded guilty today to a federal charge for kidnapping his wife in 2016 in an incident that resulted in her death.

Eddy Reyes, 38, who lived with his wife in Santa Ana before she vanished, entered his plea in downtown Los Angeles to one count of kidnapping resulting in death.

The charge carries a potential sentence of life in federal prison. However, the government has agreed not to seek more than 30 years in exchange for Reyes’ guilty plea.

If prior to sentencing, Reyes provides information leading to the recovery of the remains of Claudia Sanchez Reyes — so they can be returned to her parents in El Salvador — federal prosecutors will lower their recommendation to 25 years, according to the plea agreement.

Sentencing was set for Aug. 2.

Reyes — who was a civilian employee of CBP’s Long Beach office — admitted that he kidnapped his then-21-year-old wife on May 6, 2016 after suspecting she was having an affair with another man.

Claudia Reyes was last seen leaving work that night at El Pollo Loco in Garden Grove. After Reyes filed a missing person report four days later, the Santa Ana Police Department conducted an investigation that revealed co-workers heard the woman fighting with her husband the night she disappeared, before he picked her up in a rented SUV, according to an affidavit.

The document notes that a cadaver dog indicated that a body had been in the Hyundai SUV, and detectives found a drop of Claudia Reyes’ blood in the vehicle.

The woman’s body was never recovered.

Court papers document a history of domestic abuse by Reyes against his wife, including several threats to kill her, as well as temporary restraining orders Claudia Reyes obtained against her husband in 2014 and 2016.


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According to his plea agreement, Reyes met with his now-deceased half-brother, identified by the initials P.O., at a McDonald’s restaurant in Los Angeles one month before the kidnapping to plan the killing. Reyes had been estranged from his half-brother but contacted him because P.O. had previously been a gang member and “gravedigger” in El Salvador, Reyes stated.

At P.O.’s suggestion, Reyes rented the SUV to use to kidnap and kill the woman. The defendant told his wife the Hyundai Santa Fe was a gift for her.

On May 6, 2016, Reyes called Claudia and told her he wanted to take her out to dinner and he would pick her up after work. When Reyes arrived at her workplace, P.O. was hiding under a blanket in the back of the SUV, Reyes said in his plea agreement.

After she was picked up, the defendant drove to his mother’s house in Orange and pulled into the garage. Once the garage door closed, P.O. grabbed the woman, who was in the front passenger seat, pulling her with such force that the passenger seat collapsed toward the back seat.

After punching the woman, P.O. took a seat belt, wrapped it around her neck, and strangled her, Reyes stated in the plea agreement filed last week in Los Angeles federal court.

Reyes said he then helped his half-brother push the body into the back seat and eventually into the cargo area of the Hyundai.

The next day, Reyes used Claudia’s cell phone to pose as her and text her workplace saying she would not be in that day. P.O., posing as the woman, then sent a text message to a paralegal who worked for Claudia’s divorce lawyer stating that the attorney was no longer needed, Reyes said.

P.O., again posing as the woman, sent a text to Claudia’s mother in El Salvador saying she was moving to New York with a new man and was leaving her then-4-year-old son with her husband, according to the plea agreement.

On May 19, 2016, Reyes drove to a parking lot at Los Angeles International Airport and threw in a trash can a backpack containing a blanket and rags P.O. used to wipe down the seat belts and interior of the Hyundai SUV, Reyes stated.