KANSAS CITY (AP) – A former Lake Havasu City resident was taken into custody last month by the Kansas City Police Department following the discovery of his deceased wife. The suspect was known to local law enforcement agencies for more than a dozen arrests and citations throughout Mohave and La Paz Counties.
Justin T. Rey, 35, was charged Wednesday with abandonment of a corpse and child endangerment in Jackson County, Missouri. According to Kansas City police, Rey allegedly posed with his deceased wife, Jessica M. Rey, with his newborn and 5-year-old daughter, in a Kansas City hotel room prior to dismembering his wife’s body.
According to Kansas City Police, Rey said his wife died while giving birth on Oct. 20. Rey allegedly told police that he dismembered his wife’s body in the bathtub of a hotel room, then placed some of his wife’s body parts in a large cooler. He allegedly used a stove to boil parts that wouldn’t fit into the cooler. Some of the remains, he allegedly told detectives, he had flushed down the hotel room’s toilet.
Rey’s daughter, now a toddler, was born in February 2012, in Lake Havasu City. At the time, Rey was involved in legal proceedings in California, and his daughter was taken into custody by Child Protective Services. According to records from the Lake Havasu City Police Department, Rey allegedly made threats via telephone to CPS officials, and was taken into LHCPD custody for doing so. Rey was ultimately sentenced to pay a fine in that case.
The suspect has in recent years faced more than a dozen charges in Lake Havasu City, Flagstaff, Williams, Kingman, Salome, Quartzsite and Chino Valley before his arrest in Kansas City last month, each for relatively minor offenses. When he was found in Kansas City last month, Rey and his family were homeless, according to Kansas City police.
When Rey attempted to check out of his hotel room on Oct. 23, police said, he attempted to disguise his voice as that of a woman. Video surveillance allegedly showed Rey pulling a red cooler through the hotel as he left, police said. Rey was at the time allegedly pushing a baby stroller as his daughter walked alongside him.
Police found Jessica’s remains on Oct. 24, inside a cooler and tote at a U-Haul Moving and Storage facility in nearby Lenexa, Kansas, after Rey slept there with the children. Emergency responders checked on the children, who were later taken to a hospital. An official affidavit said the baby wasn’t wearing adequate clothing and had an eye infection at the time of Rey’s arrest.
Rey’s account of the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death have been inconsistent, investigators say. According to investigators, Rey said that his wife committed suicide after giving birth, but has also allegedly said that she died during or after childbirth, according to investigators.
Rey appeared in a Missouri courtroom this month, but was removed when he screamed a rant against authorities present.
Brandon Messick contributed to this story for The Daily Miner.