Veronica Reyes Murder: Where is Carlos Reyes Now?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide Hunter: American Detective: Death Roll’ chronicles the brutal murder of 30-year-old Veronica Reyes in Carson, California, in October 2008. The perpetrator who killed the mother of four was identified with the help of surveillance footage, but they complicated the case when they attempted to cross the international border with a weapon and got arrested. Eventually, it took more than 7 years before Veronica got justice.

How Did Veronica Reyes Die?

Veronica Reyes, of San Pedro in Los Angeles, California, was the mother of four children between the ages of 8 to 12 in October 2008. Her sister, Lucy Villalon, portrayed her as “a wonderful sister and mother who was the glue of their family.” The 30-year-old was employed as an administrator at Coastline Logistics in Carson, California, while her family lived in Wilmington. Her co-workers described her as “the happiest hard-working woman they know.” 

Veronica’s daughter, Klarissa Villalon, recounted, “My mother liked people, she loved to dance, and had the dorkiest laugh. It was contagious.” On October 8, 2008, Veronica was pulling into the parking spot of her office at around 8:30 am while talking on the phone with her sister, Lucy. The sister then heard Veronica shout, “Oh no! Oh no!” before hearing deafening popping sounds over the call. Lucy rushed to the scene with other family members to learn that her sister had been shot dead by an unknown assailant.

When the officers reached the parking lot, they found Veronica’s body slumped on the car seat. She was disfigured by gunfire and had been shot twice in the head. One of the rounds had broken her jaw, resulting in a distorted face. The investigators noticed a lot of stippling on her face caused by unburned particles of gunpowder striking the skin, which indicated she had been shot from close range. The window on the driver’s side had been shot out, and several bullet holes inside the car. The officers recovered eight expended .40-caliber shell casings from inside the vehicle. 

Who Killed Veronica Reyes?

From the bullet holes and expended shell casings, the police figured the shooter was standing so close that the casings went through the open window and wound up on the floor of the vehicle. The first responders at the scene initially thought it was a carjacking gone wrong. But the detectives of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deduced there was too much firing for stealing a car and also noticed no endeavors of any theft. The area where the shooting occurred was lined with logistic companies. 

Since such companies deal with freight, they are required by law to have surveillance cameras on their building. The detectives learned the shooting had been captured in the footage and reviewed it to get a grip on what had panned out that morning. The video showed Veronica’s red car pulling into the spot when a black 2008 BMW followed it inside and stopped parallel to her vehicle. The officers saw an assailant rush out from the driver’s seat and position themselves approximately 20 feet away from Veronica’s car.

As the assailant started firing their gun, the BMW lurched backward as the car had not been put into parking mode. The video showed it clipped another truck parked in the lot and came to a pause before running over some bushes. Veronica’s car was also on a death roll, and it rolled behind with the deceased woman in the driving seat before hitting a wall and stopping. However, the video presented an image of the assailant, the car make, and other essential evidence to arrest the perpetrator.

It was revealed that Veronica shared four children with Carlos Guadalupe Reyes of San Pedro, and they had been married for nine years. According to Lucy, Veronica met Carlos in high school, and they were childhood sweethearts. However, they had been embroiled in a hostile and ongoing separation and child custody hearing over the past few months. The relatives claimed him as the primary suspect in the shooting since he had domestically abused her over the years and even smashed her car windows once after the couple separated. A lookout notice was issued for the absconding alleged shooter.

According to police records, Carlos went by the nicknames “Wino” and “Straws.” He was listed as one of some 40 Wilmington gang members whose activities were restricted by a gang injunction enforced by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. He featured as a defendant in the injunction filed in 2004 against Eastside Wilmas gang members. Carlos was an alleged leader of the Eastside Wilmas gang and had been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on September 11, 2001, after he allegedly shot at two fellow gang members. However, he was not prosecuted due to a lack of evidence.

The officers used a helicopter to search for Carlos and found his abandoned BMW at Banning Boulevard and 233rd Street. According to reports, he drove a Toyota Camry and attempted to cross the border into Mexico through the San Ysidro border crossing within hours of the murder. However, he was arrested on suspicion of illegally importing a firearm into Tijuana after Mexican officials found a gun inside his vehicle during a random secondary inspection.

Carlos Reyes is Serving His Sentence Today

News reports state Carlos Reyes was prosecuted and handed a 2-4 year sentence in Guanajuato, Mexico. After serving his sentence in Mexico, Carlos was extradited to Los Angeles in 2014 and charged with first-degree murder, second-degree robbery, stalking, and the use of a gun in homicide. He was found guilty on all counts on April 29, 2015. The court handed Carlos 54 years to life in prison in July 2015. According to official court records, the 44-year-old is currently serving his sentence at the Centinela State Prison and will be eligible for parole in May 2034.

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