KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Two sisters from California said the woman found dead in a Lenexa U-Haul storage unit last week is their sister, Jessica Monteiro Rey.
“All I have is the good memories. Us playing as kids and us growing up together,” Rhonda Monteiro told 41 Action News.
Rhonda and Sarah Monteiro said their sister’s volatile marriage prevented them from seeing her for a year. Now they’re mourning Monteiro Rey’s death from across the country.
“It was too soon. Way too soon. She was in her early 30s,” Rhonda Monteiro said.
The sisters said police called last week to confirm Monteiro Rey’s remains were found in an ice chest in the storage unit. They said the detective said Monteiro Rey’s body was not “intact.”
Police haven’t confirmed this information to 41 Action News.
“They said they weren't even able to identify whether it was male or female it was so bad,” Sarah Monteiro said.
The sisters said officials identified Monteiro Rey by her fingerprints.
Monteiro Rey’s husband, Justin Rey, is in jail on child endangerment charges. Police found him on October 24 living in that same storage unit with their five-day-old baby and toddler.
Investigators said Monteiro Rey died in Kansas City, Missouri. They’re trying to figure out how and when she died, and where the baby was born.
The Monteiro sisters said it breaks their hearts to think their nieces were living in such a terrible environment. Police said the kids had no immediate access to food, diapers, or a place to sleep.
“When I seen on the news before anything was determined, I knew it was [Jessica] because of our history with Justin,” Sarah Monteiro said.
The sisters said Rey and Monteiro Rey moved from state to state and he was extremely controlling, even violent.
“The minute he got in her life, I went to her wedding and after that, I never seen her again,” Rhonda Monteiro said.
Sarah Monteiro continued, “Her mindset and soul were innocent, and she was really taken advantage of.”
A witness told 41 Action News he and his wife met Rey at a bar in Waldo Tuesday evening, and he had the children with him. Feeling sorry for the kids, witnesses said they gave Rey a ride to the Lenexa storage facility.
The witnesses said Rey claimed his wife died in childbirth. In police dispatch recordings from that night, a dispatcher mentions Rey told officials his wife was recently deceased.
Monteiro Rey’s family feels Rey should be held accountable for her death.
“I can’t even process it. We don’t even get to see her, mourn her. See her and say goodbye. He took that away from us,” Rhonda Monteiro cried.
Rey’s bond is set at $1 million.
The children are now in protective custody until Monteiro Rey’s family figures out other arrangements.