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Clues (blog)

Ex-Queens butcher admits to killing wife, stuffing in suitcase

When your husband tells you he's going to kill you -- it's time to get out.

Forget InvestiDating. There's nothing to uncover but the gruesome reality that he's probably not joking; and if he is, it's not funny.

Edwin Fuentes, 44, a former butcher who admitted to choking his wife and then dismembering her body led cops to the last of her remains in Forest Park in Queens on Tuesday. His wife, Reina De Los Santos Reyes, a mother of two, had been missing since 2007. Fuentes himself reported she was gone.

The woman's remains were found inside a plastic bag within the park, near where the couple once lived in Woodhaven. Fuentes led authorities to the body as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, according to The New York Daily News.

Back in June 2007, Fuentes claimed his wife went out with friends and never returned. At the time, officers said he seemed nervous and shaky, and had visible scratches on both arms, as well as a bite mark on his left hand. He justified them saying he'd been horsing around with his kids. 

Despite his story, officers searched his home. They went as far as tearing into the interior of his walls, but came up empty-handed.

At the time, Fuentes began a fruitless search for his dead wife — blanketing the neighborhood with posters and asking for donations to cover the printing. In an interview with The Forum he described her as a loving and supportive mother and said: "I don’t understand where she could be.” He went on to tell the paper: “We love you and we miss you. Just come home safe.”

Yet witnesses said they heard Fuentes threatening to kill his wife twice in 2007 -- once in April and once in May. They also say they saw him choking his wife and threatening to kill her if she ever left him.

Fuentes, who was arrested last year, faces 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 9 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak.

If you know of someone in a dangerous domestic situation, encourage them to get help. There are various non-profit agencies ready to move victims from crisis to confidence

It's not always easy to identify domestic violence at first.

While some relationships are clearly abusive from the start, abuse tends to starts subtly and get worse over time.

If you're unsure of your situation, take a look at some of the warning signals below compiled by the Mayo Clinic.

You might be experiencing domestic violence if you're in a relationship with someone who:

  • Calls you names, insults you or puts you down
  • Prevents you from going to work or school
  • Stops you from seeing family members or friends
  • Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful
  • Threatens you with violence or a weapon
  • Portrays the violence as mutual and consensual
  • And many more...

Some abuse starts digitally (welcome to the Modern Age). If you think you could be the victim of digital abuse visit to get more facts and download the free iPhone app, which simulates digital abuse so that you can compare your situation.

Leaving an abuser can be extremely dangerous (staying with one is too).

From creating a safety plan to ways to secretly research your options, the Mayo Clinic has an excellent list of safety recommendations, including how to handle GPS-enabled devices and Web search history; definitely worth the read.

And remember, no one deserves to be abused. No one -- especially you.