The case of Valerie Reyes, the 24-year-old woman from New Rochelle, New York, whose body was recently discovered in Greenwich, Connecticut, bound at the hands and feet and stuffed inside a suitcase, has me more than a little creeped out. Police haven't yet announced any suspects or leads in the case, but they often don't until they're either ready to make an arrest or need the public'shelp in locating specific person of interest in a case.
Young women making their way in today's working world often live alone, and sometimes in not the most secure of living situations. I really don't know much about Valerie Reyes' basement apartment -- whether it was the type of place into which an enterprising intruder could gain entry with a sturdy nail file, or whether it was more like the above-garage apartment I call home, which requires multiple keys and codes for one to gain access. From accounts I have read, though, it doesn't seem likely that Valerie was abducted from her apartment.
Valerie's last known contact was a phone call with her mother on the evening of Monday, January 28. She didn't report for work the next day. She was seen at the train station in New Rochelle on that morning. A private detective later located her as having been at a Chase Bank ATM near Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. It was the last known sighting of a living Valerie.
Valerie was an artist who sang. She apparently battled anxiety and depression -- conditions not uncommon among the creative in our society -- though prior to her disappearance, she seemed, depressed and anxious or not, to have made it to work on a fairly regular basis. In her final phone conversation with her mother, she shared fears that she would be murdered -- fears that she associated largely with her basement apartment. This may have prompted her to leave the relative safety of the apartment for a more perilous situation. What actually prompted her to leave, and what ultimately led to her being found lifeless in a suitcase in Greenwich, Connecticut, are still unknown to the general public at this point.
It's natural at this point to compare one's own situation with that of a prominent crime victim whose circumstances in any way resemble one's own circumstances. Valerie was twenty-four, as I am. She was unmarried and living independent of her family, as I do. She appeared to be petite, as I am. On the other hand, I come from a more economically advantaged background than did Valerie. While I have completed an undergraduate education as well as medical school, she hoped to eventually put her artistic talents to use as a tattoo artist. Still, there's precious little in my life that offers any guarantee of not facing the same end as she did.
There are no guarantees, anyway. I have lucked into a living situation that is optimal for a person of my age, gender, size, and level of un-bravery. I was a scaredy cat who heard noises outside and feared the boogeyman long before I suffered an unfortunate attack in high school. Since then, I've had trouble functioning at night by myself. Fortunately, I rarely have to function by myself at night in my present living situation. I lease a studio apartment above a garage, but the apartment is attached to a home owned by a widowed physician with three children close to my age who looks after me as though I were his own child. (If I were to scream loudly, someone would likely hear me and would respond.) I have full access to the home attached to the garage which sits under my apartment. One of the bedrooms in the main part of the house is designated as mine; I slept there last weekend when I was sick, on the insistence of my landlord. If I'm too bothered by noises in the night or by anything else, I'm more than welcome to sleep in that bedroom. I'm getting creeped out just enough that I'm probably going to relocate there for the night as soon as I finish typing.
A certain vague situation in my life has caused my parents and my employers to be mildly concerned for my safety. I don't see the situation as quite so real a threat as my parents, my bosses, or Doug, my landlord, see it, but I exercise caution nonetheless. I live in a secure dwelling. I don't enter or leave my place of work alone. For that matter, nor does any other female. Even the nurses here use the free valet parking service. My apartment is alarmed, as is the main house attached to the apartment in which I live. The alarms are activated now, as they always are at night, and are at anytime that I'm here alone even in broad daylight.
It's colder than @&*% here right now. The last time I checked, it was nineteen degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and the wind-chill factor is at almost forty below. It may be even colder tomorrow. I'm staying inside.
Rest in peace, Valerie. I'm saddened and angered by whatever led to your demise. It's a crime against humanity that you were robbed of life and that the world has been deprived of your gifts.