A family has identified human remains found inside a Kansas storage unit as the wife of a man found living there with his toddler and newborn daughter.
Lenexa police made the discovery last week when checking on a father and his two young daughters said to be living inside one of the cramped U-Haul units, according to KTLA sister station WDAF in Kansas City. The victim’s family said the woman's name was Jessica Monteiro Rey.
Her family told WDAF that her husband, Justin Rey, had the couple's toddler and 5-day-old baby with him when police found them. While there, officers discovered human remains, in several pieces inside a cooler.
A witness told WDAF he and his wife met Justin Rey at a restaurant the day police arrested him. Rey told them he’d lost his wife in childbirth and was trying to take his daughters home to Arizona. The witness, who asked to remain anonymous, agreed to take Rey to Union Station to catch a passenger train, but they first stopped at Rey’s storage unit to pick up what he needed for the trip.
Once there, the witness said he noticed Rey pulling a cooler that was leaking a trail of brown liquid. As they were leaving the U-Haul facility, Lenexa police showed up and took Rey into custody on suspicion of child endangerment. Police said the children were found to have no food or diapers.
Investigators haven’t said anything about the case or responded to questions from WDAF. However, the victim’s family said police told Jessica’s parents, who live in California, in person and on the phone that the remains belonged to their daughter.
Jessica’s family isn’t sure if she died in childbirth, which is what her husband allegedly told the witness. They believe she gave birth at a motel in Missouri.
A full autopsy is pending.
“Jessica didn’t see any negative in the world all her life, she just couldn’t see it," her sister Sara Monteiro said. "She was always happy and friendly, no matter what. She was a great big sister; more like a mom and best friend. She was always loving and caring, and she knew what family meant.”
Justin Rey is due back in court next month.