The husband of a woman whose dismembered body was found in a Lenexa storage unit was charged Wednesday with abandonment of a corpse in Kansas City.
Justin Rey told police that his wife died after giving birth in a Kansas City hotel room and he cut up her body in the bathtub, according to court documents filed Wednesday in Jackson County.
Lenexa police made the grisly discovery on Oct. 24 after they were called by employes of the storage facility who reported that Rey was sleeping in the unit with two small children.
Besides the charge of corpse abandonment, Justin Rey is now charged in Johnson and Jackson counties with endangering the welfare of the children — a newborn and 2-year-old daughter. The newborn, who was four days old, was not wearing adequate clothing and had an eye infection, according to the documents.
Court documents filed in both counties describe what led up to the Oct. 24 discovery of Jessica Monteiro Rey’s body:
Rey, his pregnant wife and 2-year-old daughter checked into a Kansas City hotel on Sept. 25.
On Oct. 20, she gave birth in the room’s bathtub, before she died.
In one statement to police, Justin Rey said she committed suicide after giving birth. In other statements he just said that she died.
After Jessica Rey died, he said he placed her body on the bed and took pictures of himself and the children with her body.
Rey, the newborn and toddler stayed in the room with her body for two more days before he moved her back to the bathtub.
He dismembered the body while the children were present, he told police. Rey put the body parts in a large cooler. He disposed of other parts that didn’t fit.
On Oct. 23, Rey disguised his voice to sound like a woman and called the hotel’s front desk to check out.
Hotel surveillance video showed him leaving with the children, and pulling a large cooler with a black bag on top of it.
He apparently spent that night in the Lenexa storage unit with the children.
The next day, he was seen inside a restaurant and bar in the Waldo area of Kansas City.
There, a Kansas City man and his wife offered to give him a ride back to Lenexa.
That Good Samaritan, who asked that his name not be used, told The Star Wednesday that he felt bad for the children. The 2-year-old did not look healthy, he said.
“It was just a sad sight to us,” he said.
Rey told the couple that his wife had died in childbirth. He did not seem agitated or upset, the man said.
He told them that he was planning to get some belongings from the storage locker and then go to Union Station to catch a train to Flagstaff, Ariz., where he said he had relatives.
The man said he offered to give them a ride to the train station.
Once at the storage unit, he said Rey got out a large cooler, a large plastic tub and a container of liquid that Rey said was urine because they had been staying in the unit.
“He was pretty matter of fact,” the man said.
Employees at the storage facility saw Rey back at the business on Oct. 24 and called Lenexa police because they were concerned about the children.
Rey, the children and the Good Samaritan were leaving the storage unit when Lenexa police arrived.
Because he had a newborn, an officer asked Rey where his wife was. Rey said she was in the cooler and a tote he had with him.
“An autopsy was conducted on the body parts found in the two coolers,” according to the Johnson County affidavit. “Based on preliminary autopsy findings, the dismembered body was that of Rey’s dead wife.”
Rey, 35, was arrested and taken to the Johnson County Jail. He was subsequently charged in Johnson County District Court with with two counts of aggravated child endangerment and two counts of contributing to a child’s misconduct.
The children were placed in protective custody, according to the documents.
On Wednesday, Jackson County prosecutors filed the abandonment charge and one count of child endangerment.
None of the documents describe a cause of Jessica Rey’s death and police on both sides of the state line say the investigation is ongoing.