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For somebody to come do something then, they would have to be as sick as I was, or sicker.
Reyes


Matias Reyes, also known as The East Side Slasher and The Central Park Rapist, is a Puerto Rican serial rapist and murderer most infamously known for the beating and rape of Trisia Meili in 1989, which led to the wrongful convictions of the Central Park Six, six men of marginalized races who were wrongfully tracked and persecuted because numerous youths were causing disturbances at the scene of the crime. When Reyes confessed to the rape in 2002, long efforts went underway for the six men to be successfully exonerated and freed.

Early Life[]

Reyes was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico in 1971, where his father resided even after his mother moved to the United States. Reyes moved with his mother to New York City when he was just an infant. At age 2, he was sold back to his father for 400 dollars U.S. Reyes was permanently traumatized by a sexual assault committed on him by two older kids when he was 7, which was followed by the duo throwing him into a river, after which he narrowly lived. Reyes exhibited violent behavior during his school years, which, according to his defense counsel Richard Siracusa, culminated when he gang-raped his mother with a friend when Reyes was 15 or 16, resulting in her moving out of state. Reyes dropped out of the ninth grade, and after one final return from Puerto Rico when he was 17 and measured at five-foot-seven, Reyes moved into Harlem and found a job in a bodega. Some reports say Reyes moved in above the store, while others said he was living in a van and sometimes crashed in peers' apartments. By Reyes' own account, he casually took cocaine and was also with other young residents in the neighborhoods and school districts he knew at the time, committing public disturbances, petty theft, and other petty crimes.

Crimes and Arrest[]

Matias Reyes Court

Matias Reyes during his trial

"I’ll take your eyes or your kids."
- Reyes when threatening Lourdes Gonzalez

Shortly after he turned 17, on September 21, 1988, Reyes attempted to rape Jackie Herbach, then 27, an OB/GYN receptionist taking acting classes in Manhattan. A practicing Catholic woman, when Jackie went into the Episcopalian Church of the Heavenly Rest to pray during her lunch break, Reyes approached her and made sure she wasn't a congregate before scouting for witnesses. As Jackie packed up to leave, Reyes jumped her and threatened to kill her with a knife if she screamed, forcing her to the vestibule, stealing her cash from the ATM and all her jewelry except her mother's ring, and strangling her and slamming her head on the floor so badly she briefly blacked out. Jackie recounted years later she was caught off guard being attacked from a church, but as Reyes tried to force her to undress, she quickly convinced Reyes to not rape her with a plea mixed with the lie that she had an STI. Reyes was convinced and forced her to lie on her stomach and not look, lying he had a partner. Reyes stole her clothes and left them at the chapel gate. Jackie checked to see if she was safe, redressed herself, and reported the crime at her office. She went to the hospital and back to the scene with a cop, then looked at mugshots, finding one that looked familiar, but there was no follow-up. She was reassured she did nothing wrong with how she defended herself. Jackie took the week off and found solace from her fiancé's support and therapy. She would keep pepper spray with her and was furious when the church condescended her with refusing responsibility like the police didn't, in a letter three months later no less. On February 16, 1989, Reyes flashed another woman in the basement of another church.

On April 17, 1989, Reyes found another woman (who was never publicly named to protect her identity), 26, in Fort Fish, Central Park, practicing tai chi. Trying to ask her a question, Reyes scared the women in the other direction. Before she could get away, Reyes beat her, ripped off her outfit, forced her into a vulnerable position, and raped her. When a pedestrian passed by and responded to the woman's screams, Reyes stopped the rape and fled the scene, leaving no DNA behind. Taken to St. Luke's hospital for two nights, the woman descriptively recalled Reyes as Latino and with fresh stitches on his chin, medical records at Metropolitan Hospital of which he was tracked through. As the woman left the state, cutting off all contact, and the investigators were transferred, Reyes wasn't even questioned. On the evening of April 18, Reyes was present with numerous other youths at Central Park, where there were arrests for disturbances, assaults, and general mischief and marauding. Reyes came across Trisha Meili, an employee at the Salomon Brothers investment bank, at the North Woods, when the crowds had moved well out of the area. Reyes violently stripped her, tied her with her own clothes, raped her, beat her in her head with a rock, and left her to die. She was found and narrowly rescued after being transported to the hospital. The attack left her with amnesia from that night and permanent damage to her vision and sense of balance. Reyes would use the M.O. of using stripped clothes as binds during later attacks.

After six men were arrested and taken to trial on suspicion of gang-raping Trisha, Reyes refrained from attacks for two months. On June 11 of that year, Reyes resurfaced, breaking into the East 116th Street first-floor apartment of "Melissa" (an alias in news reports), 23, a student researcher saving for biology studies in grad school, while also evading New York street harassment and planned to apply for being a Big Sister. While she clipped newspapers and put on 60 Minutes, the buzzer range, and Reyes lied he was the super's son to get in. "Melissa" has said she regrets not having noticed he didn't have a key, but she needed repairs and was planning to not pay the building manager. Reyes broke in, raped "Melissa" three times, asked her if she wanted cocaine, slashed her eyes with a kitchen knife, and tried to drown her in her bathroom sink. Forcing her to call her boyfriend, Reyes moved on after there was no answer to stealing "Melissa"'s jewelry, including her ring and her mother's class ring. She was forced by Reyes to stay in her bedroom and not call the police. "Melissa" found Reyes' binoculars he left behind after having stalked her with them. With wounds on her face and hands, a broken nose, and two bruised eyes, she called the bluff and dialed the hotline. She insisted to police to not take her to the hospital, but she was evaluated, a rape exam was performed, and she had X-rays. She remembered being touched from a nurse offering to keep her safe at the nurse's place if she needed that. When her boyfriend brought her to his house, he made her sleep in the living room, which led to her leaving him. With Melissa moving to a friend's apartment and taking extended leave while grappling with the trauma and fear, her friend went as far as helping her bathe during the time her wounds healed.

On June 13, Reyes broke into the apartment of Lourdes Gonzalez, 24, a young mother with three children and pregnant with a fourth. She and her husband Antonio Serrano, father of Tony, roughly 7, were planning to leave for Philadelphia to escape the high crime rate, telling Antonio about her pregnancy with baby Ojala that night. Her stepson Tony Serrano answered the door when Reyes asked about the superintendent, shortly before barging in and demanding change. After Lourdes realized the situation and gave Toni his baby half-sister Amanda, Reyes forced her into her bedroom while she fought and locked the door, raping her while her children could hear the sounds of the attack, including her first son Carlitos, 6. Reyes threatened he'd either slash her eyes or kill her children, but in the end, he stabbed her nine times, including in her face and abdomen. Lourdes called 911 shortly after Reyes fled, trying to get outside of the building for help. She died near the building's elevator, her unborn child also being killed from the violence. "Melissa" saw the report shortly thereafter, knowing Reyes was responsible and saving every report she could find on Lourdes and the murder. She was furious she was publicized as having been raped as well, having to stave off a stranger asking about her from the news. The Serrano-Gonzalez family was irreparably broken and scattered between America and Puerto Rico with various relatives after Antonio quit his super position.

On July 19, 1989, Amanda Eisley, 20 and having moved to New York after being born in France, was returning from her visual arts classes at the Art Students League, studying all forms of art after being inspired by her parents, who wouldn't return home for hours once she arrived that night. She had come from buying water at the drugstore when she saw the door open. Hearing Reyes, breathing upstairs, she assumed he was in construction or delivery and asked where he was headed when he came down. Over the course of an hour, he jumped her, held her at knifepoint, and repeatedly raped her, threatening that she would either die or be blinded. Refraining from aggressively fighting back to not be more seriously wounded, Amanda was tied by her wrists with a telephone cord, lost $90 she received from an art dealer and her ATM card she was forced to give the PIN number to, gagged, and threatened by Reyes with murder if she called the cops. Reyes then slashed her face near her eyes, causing Amanda to drop to the floor, anonymously called the cops to leave her address, and emptied her account of 300 bucks. When she freed one of her hands from the cord, she crawled to a window while still naked and screamed for help. The police rescued, covered, and untied her, taking her to the hospital and the staff conducting an exam she hated. Calling her best friend who was in filmmaking, she stayed with them for three days and only told her parents she was raped and brutalized when she returned, speaking as calmly and pragmatically as she could.

On July 27, Reyes threatened a woman also not publicly named, 28, when he broke into her apartment building lobby after trailing her, saying he'd shoot her with a gun she never saw and punching her head to get her purse. A neighbor recognized Reyes as having been an earlier prowler, stopping the attack and getting him to flee. The woman called the police because there were witnesses and she figured it would be valuable, relieved she didn't suffer worse. On August 5, Reyes broke into the apartment of Meg, 24, her last name never released. She moved up the Atlantic coast to the city to work in fashion, living alone in her studio with her cat. She walked through the propped front door, and returned to her apartment, Reyes following her in and watching the elevator numbers to get to her floor without being seen. Knocking on her door, she didn't check who it was and assume her neighbor was paying her back for laundry change, remembering she's never otherwise just opened a door without asking who was there. Reyes threatened to shoot her with a hand in his pocket, while Meg tried to sound courteous, asking if he wanted water and mentioning her cat while being ready to stop the chance he'd kill her pet. Reyes repeatedly raped her, made her wash off in the shower, trashed her apartment, and demanded her ATM card. He threatened her with being bound and blinded or murdered, which she satirically replied with "I'll choose option one" to survive through the attack. When Reyes went into the kitchen for one of her knives he could use to blind her with, Meg took the chance and undid her doors locks before she ran out of the apartment screaming for help while covering herself with a towel or two. The superintendent's wife recalled Meg saying Reyes wanted to choke her with her scarf. Two people, one of them the building super, stopped Reyes from escaping, the super reportedly knocking Reyes down with a mop before he and the other person kept him from running by forcing him still on the couch for 15 minutes until the police arrived. Meg requested to stop by the liquor store after the hospital rape exam. The squad car he was in drove past Central Park to bring him to the sex crimes precinct. Two women came forward after Reyes was arrested, reporting Reyes cut their faces before releasing them.

Matias Reyes Mugshot

Mugshot of Reyes

The Central Park Jogger and The Central Park Six[]

"I know it's hard for people to understand, after 12 years, why a person would actually come forward to take responsibility for a crime. At first I was afraid, but at the end of the day, I felt it was definitely the right thing to do."
- Reyes' public statement explaining his confession

Police were dispatched to Central Park on the night of April 18, 1989, where between 30 and 40 people, mainly young men and boys of color, were detained on charges of disruption of public peace, assault, and more. Many victims of the attacks and harassments were also people of color, and the general area where the acts occurred were in the North Woods. Trisha Meili was found unconscious and clinging to life in a nearby ravine, naked, covered in mud and her blood, tied, and gagged, her life being saved once she made it to the hospital. Trisha was hypothermic, lost most of her blood, suffered brain damage, and internally bled and hemorrhaged. Her eye was dislodged, and her skull and face were riddled with fractures. Despite being expected to die or remain comatose, she awoke after 12 days, needing to gain her speech, walk, and reading back during her six months in recovery. Of all the crimes in that window of time, the rape and near-murder of Trisha spread across the papers, in a time of high crime and danger across the metropolis. She recalled nothing of the night's events at the time, and it took 24 hours to identify her and days to retrace her steps, the crimes scene being found from clear marks in the ground where she was dragged.

The police went through the suspects they had detained that night and other people in the same neighborhoods and local populations, the pressure on from the violence of the crime and the public buzz and outrage. Trisha's identity was to be kept protected in accordance with anonymity for victims of sex crimes, as were the names of suspects and defendants, especially since many of them were minors. Two local TV stations disregarded the obligation and released Trisha's name and the names of suspects, so news and broadcasting stations, especially targeted toward black communities, continued their press coverage. WRKS would continue to provide updates all the way into 2002. There was also much criticism of disparities of victim support regarding publicity of victims based on their profiles, one example being a 30-year-old black woman being robbed, raped, and throw off a roof by three attackers almost a month after that night, on May 3, 1989.

Six young black and Hispanic boys, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, and Steven Lopez, all 14; Antron McCray and Yusef Salaam, both 15; and Korey Wise (then known as Kharey Wise), 16 were all detained, the 14-year-olds that night, the three other boys in the next day. Of the over a dozen suspects arrested and indicted over the course of the days after the night at North Woods, the six boys were all indicted and tried ultimately for the rape and assault of Trisha Meili. Their accounts were all inconsistent, they blamed each other for raping Trisha, all saying they were just spectators or bystanders, and none of their DNA matched samples on Trisha's person, despite the reports stating the results as "inconclusive". Most of them confessed to other disruptions and attacks, but their confessions to the rape were attributed to hours of interrogation without cameras or lawyers, sleep depravation from the exhaustive questioning and detainment, and Yusef even attested Korey was beaten before Yusef was threatened with being beaten next. Most of them gave statements with their parents and guardians present, while Korey had no accompaniment whatsoever. Yusef's confession was the only one not videotaped. None of the boys mentioned Reyes by name, let alone in association with the rape.

The press graphically reported on the investigation as updates came in, but many details were exaggerated, manipulated, and even fabricated. For example, police reported the youths described the haphazard attacks of that night as "wilding", but they were actually using the phrase "doing the wild thing", which is a lyric from "Wild Thing" by rapper Tone Loc. As the boys didn't share much in common regarding motives and shared history, as well as came from educated and stable backgrounds, The New York Times released an editorial imploring to give the kids the benefit of the doubt, considering they and their lives didn't fit the stereotypical profiles excepted from the type of offender or offenders responsible. Yusef and Korey specifically were friends, which is why Korey argued he was at Central Park that night. The boys' families and neighbors received threats when their names were leaked, which was followed up by Trisha's name being released to counter the publicity and retaliation. Future president Donald Trump, then a real estate developer, put out full-page ads on May 1, 1989, calling for hatred of criminals and for the death penalty to be reinstated, which has widely been believed to infuriate the public to the point the direction of the verdict was swayed toward convictions.

Central Park Five Kids

The "Central Park Five" as teens in court

The six boys were all indicted for raping Trisha and pleaded not guilty. Steve, Kevin, and Yusef made bail, and Korey was the only one out of them all tried as an adult. As such, he was jailed at Rikers Island instead of juvenile detention. Judge Thomas B. Galligan of the Manhattan State Supreme Court ran the trial, assigned by the court administrator instead of by lottery selection, as is traditional protocol. The boys' attorneys filed failed motions for a new judge, citing Galligan as biased toward the prosecution and overpenalizing in sentences. Galligan admitted the videotaped confessions and Yusef's unsigned statement, Yusef specifically being accused of lying about his age and providing false credentials. They were all to be tried in three separate trials, so the prosecution could presented the evidence in a prepared order. Despite A.D.A. Elizabeth Lederer planning to refuse pleas from the boys, Lopez pleaded guilty to mugging another pedestrian that night, John Loughlin, remained on bail until sentencing, and spent his sentence in juvenile detention. Lederer argued the prosecution had a weak case because witnesses withdrew from testimony and Lopez never stated having participated in the rape.

All the five tried boys had their own legal representatives. Antron, Yusef, and Raymond were placed in the first trial, with a racially diverse jury and Trisha never being cross-examined during her testimony because of her lack of memories from the attack. It began on June 25, 1990, the verdict requiring ten days of deliberation ending on August 18. Kevin and Korey were tried starting on October 22, Kevin having been released on bail beforehand. Lederer's opening statement led to Korey breaking down from his emotions and shouting she lied, getting him removed from the courtroom briefly. Kevin's lawyer moved for a mistrial, but that was denied. The defense stated the boys couldn't have made the statements they were reported to have made because of the ages and levels of intellect. Trisha again testified, her name again protected, and when she was cross-examined by Korey's representative, she (as she openly recalled on an Oprah interview) resented the counsel shaming and blaming her as his tactic to cast reasonable doubt on the men and boys. Melody Jackson, Korey's friend's sister, testified Korey told her at Rikers he immobilized and fondled Trisha.

The jurors were all impressed by the physical evidence more than testimonies and reported confessions. Korey was the only boy acquitted of rape, while Kevin was the only boy convicted of attempted murder. All five were convicted on major or lesser sex crimes and assault charges regarding the rape of Trisha and of the assault and robbery of John, with added riot charges for Kevin and Korey. Korey shouted at the prosecution their arguments were made up and "Jesus is going to get you". All of them were sentenced to maximum terms, the four boys younger than Korey sentenced to 5-10 years in juvenile detention, Korey being sentenced as an adult to 5-15 years in numerous state prisons, which he requested isolation in and transfers between due to countless encounters with violence. All except Raymond filed failed appeals against the verdicts. Yusef's representation again was shot down arguing about his age, with the counter being he lied about it, thus his argument of needing a parent or guardian being decided as moot. The youngest boys served an average between 6 and 7 years before being released on parole. Raymond was imprisoned again on drug charges in 1998. They all maintained their innocence of raping Trisha even at their parole hearings.

Matias Reyes Questioning

Reyes during questioning by the District Attorney's office in 2002

Trial, Confessions, and Aftermath[]

Reyes confessed in interrogation to the rapes while being questioned by Detective Mike Shaheen, but not murdering Lourdes. Shaheen reportedly caught onto Reyes' sexual trauma and offered to share his own if Reyes was forward too. Hearing Shaheen's account of sexual assault on the subway when he was 12 provoked Reyes into an emotional outburst and a confession for Lourdes' murder. Reyes would allege Lourdes had the knife first and he took it, but Reyes later recanted, saying that he always had the knife. The police never suspected Reyes' responsibility for bludgeoning and raping Trisha Meili, as they considered Reyes working alone with a need for control, compared to their assumptions of Trisha being besieged by a heightened mob. Meg and Tony provided their testimonies, sharing fortune cookies Meg brought when not on the stand. On November 1, 1991, during Reyes' sentencing, coincidentally by Judge Galligan as well, Reyes cussed the judge out, punched his lawyer Richard Siracusa in his head, and fought the bailiffs to the point some were injured and needed to take absence. Reyes needed to be dragged flailing and screaming out of the courtroom, Siracusa recalled. Meg was the only victim who attended.

While in prison Reyes personally met Korey Wise on a couple occasions at Auburn Correctional. Once, they got into a physical squabble over a TV set. Sometime before or around 2002, Reyes said he found religion. Coupled with his experiences meeting Korey, that year, Reyes came forward and offered to give a full confession, first telling a guard. Reyes provided details only the real rapist would know, accurately accounted for working alone well after the crowd at Central Park had moved south of the scene. When asked why Reyes was just confessing to the rape and assault, he replied he found it the right thing to do. Reyes' DNA was compared to the only two DNA samples on Trisha's person, semen found both from a rape exam and on her sock. When the DNA on her sock was a confirmed match, the sample long matching the semen collected from the rape kit, the legal efforts went underway to exonerate the six men and release Raymond and Korey. Reyes was never charged or taken to trial, as the statute of limitations on on the rape and assault had ended.

Kevin, Yusef, and Raymond all acquired GEDs and associate degrees while in juvenile detention. When Yusef was released, he joined an Islamic community, because a spiritual leader at a youth facility, and discussed the importance of family from his mother visiting him three times a week at the detention center, despite its closer proximity to the Canadian border than their home communities. The five boys convicted of raping Trisha were all on the sex offender registry, increasing their difficulties in employment and housing rentals. After Reyes came forward, all men filed motions for vacating their charges and convictions, which was granted the same year by state supreme court judge Charles J. Tejada, except for Lopez's convictions being vacated in 2022. Raymond and Korey were released once their convictions were overturned. Leading prosecutor Linda Fairstein wanted the physical assault charges to remain, and Trisha insisted a retrial should've been conducted and that she didn't believe one attacker was responsible.

Central Park Five

The "Central Park Five" today

Protesters shouted "Trump is a chump" outside Trump Tower when defense lawyer Michael W. Warren insisted he give an apology, which was never extended. In Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, the controversy would be reignited, especially when Trump reiterated his stance that the men were all guilty, among other verbal disparagement that led to loss of support for the campaign. A panel led by attorney Michael F. Armstrong, as organized by police commissioner Raymond Kelly, concluded from their evaluations Reyes' statement was to not be trusted given his offender status, along with the belief Reyes acted with the five convicted men or after them to beat and rape Trisha. Department detectives supported the conclusion, and the penal refused to conclude the investigation involved police misconduct. in 2003, the five men filed lawsuits, receiving millions in total from two settlements with the city (which admitted no wrongdoing) in 2014 and with the state in 2016. Former detectives and doctors who treated Trisha maintained multiple youths were responsible, but a forensic pathologist asserted Trisha's wounds were too severe to discern the difference.

Trisha published her memoir, I Am the Central Park Jogger, in April 2003 and worked in inspirational speaking and the Mount Sinai Hospital sexual assault and violence prevention program. Ever since she resumed jogging three months after the attack, she added more exercises and yoga to her fitness regimen. Efforts have been made to exonerate wrongfully convicted people through DNA evidence, and laws have been passed for full interrogations to be electronically recorded in 25 states, including New York, despite certain states limiting the crimes. notice was also given to juveniles being more prone to false confessions and guilty pleas than adults. Raymond started a clothing business, Kevin, Yusef, and Korey worked with Innocence Projects across the country and conducted activist efforts and public speaking, and Antron was the first to leave New York, after which he started a family. Yusef received the President's Call to Service Award from Barack Obama in 2016.

Melissa started to overcome her trauma by sending a letter to A.D.A. Peter Casolaro to pass on to Meg and Amanda. When they established contact, melissa and Meg corresponded for several years. In 1997, when Melissa moved to Northern California, she and meg met for the first time, having long talks over dinner. Introducing each other to their cats, they both realized they'd fight Reyes if their pets were hurt even at the risk of their lives as well. Casolaro called Melissa and told her when Reyes confessed in 2002, which both baffled her and empowered her from not being alone. Melissa and Meg watched Reyes' ABC Primetime interview, cussing him out and rebuffing his apologies while they laugh with each other over the phone. Tony was shown on the special to have lived in Puerto Rico with Amanda, having outgrown problems with authority, then returned to the Bronx with his biological mother, where he got his psych degree and was dean of discipline at a charter school. He played football with 89 on his jersey to signify Lourdes' death, and when he lost her Social Security card he kept as a memento, Tony accepted letting her go to rest in peace.

Jackie worked at Salomon Brothers herself, with Trisha as one of her clients. On October 21, 2002, Jackie saw a New Yorker article on the Central Park Five and recognized Reyes as the attacker. When she contacted the author, Chris Smith, the district attorney opened an investigation and confirmed Reyes attacked her too, despite the statute of limitations preventing prosecution. Amanda, resembling Lourdes in her stature, personality, and even her nail biting, is in her 30s and has a young daughter. Amanda learned of her mother's murder in her teens, knowing about her personally from Antonio or Googling her. Her aunt texted her an old picture of the mother and daughter shortly after Amanda was born (see "Known Victims" below). She's long resented the publicity of Reyes' crimes and the disregard of Lourdes' murder and the traumatic impact on her entire family.

Carlos Vega, Lourdes' first son, lived with Lourdes' sisters and dropped out of his sophomore high school year. He held his dying cousin in his arms when Carlos was 16 and he watched his cousin's fatal stabbing. Carlos has two tattoos under his eye, teardrops to mourn his fallen family. After a long history of arrests, in 2007, at age 24, Carlos shot Robert Gaston six times in an East Bronx bodega. he was imprisoned at Rikers Island for nine years, the longest prisoner defending himself in an open case, through three trials, ending in two deadlocks and a mistrial. After an article published the record in 2016, despite protesting his innocence, Carlos took a manslaughter plea and was sentenced to 12 and a half years, including time served. Paroled in June 2018, Amanda regards him as the worst traumatized of the family who can't express is anger healthily.

Meg stated she came forward for The Cut to release an article with their accounts to confirm their trauma is a long struggle. Melissa withheld the rape from her daughter until 2019, and Amanda finished all her classes, but retreated into her home after trying to live in France and Los Angeles while receiving counseling. Amanda reconnected with Meg and Melissa in 2005, married in 2015, and is writing a memoir. The three women maintain their friendship by FaceTime and have even once shared dinner in Manhattan.

Reyes is due for parole in the current or next year.

Profile[]

"You know what it is to be in front of a guy, to sit and watch TV for so many days in the room right there? And you knowing that you did what the guy's accused of and not finding the strength or the desire to tell this man that 'Hey, it's me. You didn't do this. Let me help you out'? But that's how cynical, and that's how self-centered - that's how much anger I still had left inside."
-Reyes on his encounter with Wise

Reyes was profiled by psychologists as competent, psychopathic, and propensity for manipulation, but with poor control of impulses and, as psychologist N G. Berrill profiled when the defense hired him, "like a wounded child, a defective human being". Detective Mike Shaheen had a perspective of rape never being about sex, but about violence and "lashing out", which Shaheen accurately concluded was partly from Reyes' own sexual trauma, given his young age and level of violence in his crimes. Shaheen also remarked, along with Reyes' drive toward control, which showed in him forcing women to not fight back and treating them as captives taken hostage, Reyes would always dissociate from the rapes by referring to the crime as "making love". In spite of Reyes' interactions with Korey Wise while they were in prison being combative, Reyes personally meeting one of the men wrongfully convicted of Trisha Meili's rape and near-murder encouraged his confession in 2002. As Reyes also stated he found religion and wanted to do the right thing, this implies a genuine, direct perspective of his actions and the consequences, as well as a genuine, at least pragmatic sense of right and wrong and consideration for upholding accountability and responsibility to repair the damages of his crimes, even if not in the regard of morals, then of justice. Reyes' recorded confession shows his need for an elaborate depiction of a mental picture to provide context, but when the prosecutor told him straightforwardly the job required a direct confession, he accommodated for the sake of understanding the need to accomplish the task at hand.

Modus Operandi[]

"I thought I left her there for dead."
- Reyes referring to Trisha Meili

Reyes usually targeted young women in their 20s around New York City. He would hold them at knifepoint or threaten or beat them to force their compliance, often forcing them in vulnerable and provocative positions and forcing them to strip if not personally tearing their clothes off during the rapes and rape attempts. Reyes originally targeting women outdoors, but escalated to breaking into their homes once he was more brazen and refused to get caught. Reyes didn't rape the first two women he attacked, as one talked him down and the other woman was flashed, and a bystander chased him away from the second woman before the rape was completed. A bystander would chase Reyes off also in another violent robbery. In Reyes' later crimes, he became more violent, which would include bludgeoning with a rock, stabbing and slashing in the face and abdomen, gagging, and threatening to gouge women's eyes out with a knife or kill them if they called the police. Reyes also threatened to kill Lourdes Gonzalez's children, and he attempted to enucleate "Meg", but she escaped when she saw the opportunity to run for help. Reyes would also steal jewelry, ATM cards, and cash and change, either force victims to place calls or use their phones himself, once to place an anonymous 911 call on his own crimes, and Trisha Meili was reported to have been left in a ravine for dead. Starting with her, Reyes reportedly would bind women with their own clothes in progressing and escalating attacks, if not find ligatures at the scene to restrain them with. Lourdes was killed from being repeatedly stabbed, then succumbing to her wounds by the time she made it to the elevator of her building while seeking help. The wounds killed her unborn child as well, and her three other children were present in their home while Lourdes was raped and murdered. Reyes also assaulted his lawyer and two officers during his trial, and two women reported Reyes assaulted them by cutting their faces. His lawyer also reported Reyes repeatedly gang-raped his mother with a friend, but the details weren't disclosed. Reyes also mentioned petty crimes with other youths he confessed to during his confession to raping and beating Trisha.

Known Victims[]

Matias Reyes Victims

Some of Reyes' victims, from top left going clockwise: Jackie Herbach, Trisha Meili, Amanda Eisley, Lourdes Gonzalez with daughter Amanda

  • New York City, New York:
    • Unknown date: Reyes' unnamed mother (gang-raped with an unnamed friend)
    • Unknown dates: Two unnamed women (assaulted in separate attacks; slashed their faces, then released them)
    • September 21, 1988, Church of the Heavenly Rest, Fifth Avenue, Manhattan: Jackie Herbach, 27 (assaulted, forced to strip, robbed of her money and jewelry, and attempted to rape; she talked Reyes down and he fled)
    • February 16, 1989: Unnamed woman (flashed)
    • April 17, 1989, Fort Fish, Central Park: Unnamed woman, 26 (beaten, stripped, forced into position, and started to rape; Reyes fled when a bystander saw him)
    • April 18, 1989, 9-10 p.m., North Woods, Central Park: Trisha Meili, 28 (forceably undressed, bound, gagged, bludgeoned in her head with a rock, raped, and left for dead in a ravine; was rescued)
    • June 11, 1989, East 116th Street: "Melissa" (real name unknown; beaten, raped repeatedly, slashed her face and hands, and attempted to drown in a sink; robbed of her jewelry and fled; previously stalked)
    • June 13-14, 1989, 97th Street: Lourdes Gonzalez, 24 (held at knifepoint, raped, and stabbed nine times, including in her face and abdomen; died from her wounds shortly after; her unborn child was also killed, and her three children were present)
    • July 19, 1989, Madison Avenue and 95th Street intersection: Amanda Eisley (broke into her home, held at knifepoint, bound with a telephone cord, gagged, repeatedly raped, robbed of cash and her ATM card; anonymously called the police and fled after an hour)
    • July 27, 1989, 95th Street and Lexington Avenue: Unnamed woman (stalked, broke into her apartment building, punched in her head and stole her purse; he fled when a neighbor intervened)
    • August 5, 1989, 91st and Lexington: Meg (surname unknown; stalked, repeatedly raped, forced her to take a shower, attempted to steal her ATM card, and attempted to gouge her eyes with a knife and presumably kill; she escaped and Reyes was arrested instead)
    • November 1, 1991: The mass courtroom assault:
      • Richard Siracusa (assaulted; punched in his head)
      • Unnamed officer (assaulted; dislocated his shoulder)
      • Unnamed officer (assaulted; broke one of his bones)

Note: Reyes also confessed to pettier crimes with other people in the area during his confession of the rape of Trisha Meili

On Criminal Minds[]

References[]

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