Man Found Stuffed in Suitcase Was Drugged, Tortured, Hanged: Prosecutors

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
February 27, 2019US News
Man Found Stuffed in Suitcase Was Drugged, Tortured, Hanged: Prosecutors
A body was found stuffed inside a suitcase in the San Francisco Bay off of Pier 39, leading to the arrest of a man suspected of killing the man found inside the suitcase. (Google Maps)

A man who was found stuffed into a suitcase was drugged before being hanged, prosecutors said.

After the suitcase was found in the San Francisco Bay, authorities arrested 47-year-old Gerald Rowe on a slew of charges, including kidnapping, torture, and conspiracy.

The man found dead inside the suitcase was identified as George Russell Saldivar, 23.

In a motion filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Feb. 25 in an effort to detain the defendant without bail, authorities said investigators obtained video footage of Rowe torturing and killing Saldivar, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

The murder took place between Feb. 3 and Feb. 5, prosecutors said. Saldivar’s body was found on Feb. 18 in the San Francisco Bay off Pier 39.

The video showed Rowe and another person, who was not named, having sex before Rowe leaves the room and comes back to see his partner talking with Saldivar at the front door. After Saldivar enters the apartment and sits in a chair, Rowe’s accomplice ties the victim’s hands behind his back.

“The unnamed co-conspirator and defendant Rowe make a noose and put the noose over the victim’s’ neck,” Swart wrote. “The rope is then elevated over an unknown object in the room by defendant Rowe and the unnamed co-conspirator.”

Rowe and the co-conspirator then tortured Saldivar and injected him with drugs. They then stuff him inside a suitcase.

The suitcase sat in a corner of the room for an entire day before the pair rolled the suitcase out of the room and onto Market Street.

People who know Rowe told NBC that he’s lived in the Market Street apartment building for years. One said he was “a little strange.”

Rowe was set to be arraigned on Wednesday, Feb. 27, reported the Los Angeles Times. The San Francisco Office of the Medical Examiner is still working on determining the cause of death for Saldivar.

Alleged Suitcase Killer Was in Country Illegally

The man who allegedly killed a New York woman, stuffed her into a suitcase, and dropped the body on the side of the road in Connecticut is in the country illegally, according to immigration authorities.

Javier Da Silva, 24, a Portuguese national who also holds a passport from Venezuela, entered the United States in May 2017 through the Visa Waiver Program, which enables people to enter America for tourism or business for up to 90 days without needing a visa.

Da Silva was supposed to leave by August.

“He failed to leave the United States within the required time frame,” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Rachael Yong Yow told the Greenwich Time. Immigration authorities “will aim to take custody of Da Silva for immediate removal when he is released from criminal custody,” if and when he is released from jail, she added in an email.

alleged suitcase killer
Javier Da Silva, 24, a Portugal national who was in the United States illegally, was arrested on suspicion of killing his ex-girlfriend Valerie Reyes, 24, and stuffing her inside a suitcase. (igotavisual/Instagram)
valerie reyes found dead
Valerie Reyes, 24, of Rochelle, N.Y., was found dead in Greenwich, Connecticut on Feb. 5, 2019, police officials confirmed on Feb. 7, 2019. (Valerie Reyes/Facebook)

According to the Department of Homeland Security, there were over 700,000 visa overstays in fiscal year 2017.

“The U.S. government is using a multifaceted approach to enforce overstay violations, including improving entry and exit data collection and reporting, notifying visitors of an impending expiration of their authorized period of admission, canceling travel authorizations and visas for violators, recurrent vetting of many nonimmigrants, and apprehending overstays present in the United States,” the department stated.

Da Silva was arrested on Feb. 11 after allegedly killing his ex-girlfriend Valerie Reyes, also 24.

According to the criminal complaint, Da Silva claimed he and Reyes were having sex at her residence in New Rochelle on or about Jan. 29 when she fell to the floor and hit her head.

“Da Silva then indicated he placed packaging tape over her mouth, bound her legs and hands, and put her in a suitcase,” the complaint stated. He drove around and eventually dropped it off in the forest about 20 feet from the roadway in Greenwich, where it was spotted by a city worker, who alerted the police.

Da Silva then allegedly used Reyes’s debit card at a bank in New Rochelle before using it again in New York City.

An autopsy on Reyes that will determine her cause of death is pending.

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