PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - New details have emerged on the man accused of murdering a Palm Springs man, who was reported missing in May 2016.
Justin Todd Rey, 35, is already serving time in a Kansas jail after police found him on Oct. 24 living in a storage unit with his two children and, police said, the remains of his wife's dismembered body inside an ice chest.
Rey's wife, Jessica Rey, spent her high school years here in the Coachella Valley. Her sister, Sara Montiero told KESQ/CBS Local 2's Lauren Coronado that Jessica met Justin after high school. She remembers their first two years together were fine, but things changed quickly.
We went to Jessica and Justin's last residence in the Coachella Valley, a neighbor who didn't want to be identified described Justin as angry and verbally abusive.
Authorities have not commented on her cause of death. Rey allegedly told police Jessica died while giving birth in a Kansas City hotel.
Rey was escorted out of a Kansas courtroom earlier this month, despite telling the court that he is mentally stable.
"I'm not angry, wrong, or in any way unmentally (sic) stable," Rey said.
Despite what he said, his attorney is saying he is not mentally stable to withstand trial.
Monterio responded with a statement saying:
Justin Rey is 100% responsible for my sister’s death. He premeditated her dismemberment and mutilation, and tried to hide and flee with the corpse so he can get rid of her without being held responsible for her death. If she supposedly died from childbirth, as he says in one of his conflicting statements as to how she died, why not call 911 and try to help save her life rather than chop her up and flee with her corpse in an attempt to hide it. He knew what he was doing and he needs to be held accountable. Had the storage unit not checked on my nieces, we would have never seen or heard from her again and never known the horrific events we now know. He would have disposed of her as he planned and she would have vanished. I’m so thankful to the storage unit worker who called officers to check on them, thanks to them we are able to save the kids from him and hopefully imprison him for life so that he cannot harm another human being. - Sara Monterio, sister of Jessica Rey.
On Wednesday, Rey was charged with murdering Sean Ty Ferel of Palm Springs.
Palm Springs police say Ferel was reported missing in May 2016 after he went on a vacation with Rey.
Ferel's body has not been recovered, but police said they found his blood in the trunk of his car, with Rey behind the wheel. Following an August 2016 car crash near Los Angeles, Rey was found with Ferel's car, cellphone and other property.
More of Ferel's property was recovered by police inside a Kingman, Arizona, storage unit rented to Rey. Palm Springs police Sgt. William Hutchinson also said Rey was caught on surveillance footage at various businesses using Ferel's credit cards.
A neighbor who didn't want to be identified described Rey as angry and verbally abusive.
A Riverside County court date has not yet been set and authorities are working to extradite Rey from Kansas.
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