By LOUIS CASIANO Jr. and SCOTT SCHWEBKE / STAFF WRITERS
SANTA ANA – The attorney for a man whose 21-year-old wife has been missing since early May said his client is cooperating with investigators and there are logical reasons why he waited several days to report her disappearance and why he moved out of their apartment Sunday.
“It looks suspicious but it can be very easily explained,” said Marlin Stapleton, attorney for Eddy Reyes.
On Tuesday evening, authorities went to the Bush Terrace Apartments, 2015 N. Bush St., to speak with Reyes about his wife, Claudia Reyes, who was reported missing May 11, four days after he last spoke with her.
They noticed that the residence had been emptied and obtained a search warrant, police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.
“It’s a missing persons case, but it’s a vacant apartment,” he said. “We have to ask the question, did some type of crime occur there?”
Apartment manager Octavio Plata said Eddy Reyes moved out of Apartment 107, which is located next to the rental office, on Sunday.
Okaris Velasquez, who lives adjacent to Reyes’ apartment, said she saw him and two other people moving furniture into an SUV around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
“They did it fast,” she said. “He was in a hurry to leave.”
She said her husband saw Reyes on the property Tuesday with plastic bags, possibly to clean the apartment.
“He knows based on the circumstances and information the media has brought out that it looks bad for him,” Stapleton said.
Eddy Reyes is not a suspect in wife’s disappearance, police said.
Stapleton said the couple had been in the midst of a divorce but recently reconciled.
Police have said they responded nine times for domestic disturbance calls between the couple but no one was ever arrested. Claudia Reyes had filed restraining orders in the past, but none were in effect at the time of her disappearance.
She also filed domestic violence complaints against her husband but he was never charged.
Police officials said Eddy Reyes filed a missing persons report for his wife in March with authorities in Orange.
She returned in less than 24 hours.
The long wait to report Reyes missing was reportedly the result of bad advice from a family law attorney.
“The family attorney told him to hold off because she had been gone before,” Stapleton said. “When he was starting to be concerned as early as Monday … he said, ‘I think I should file a report,’ and (the lawyer) told him there’s nothing to really file a report for.”
He added that his client moved out of the apartment because the couple’s lease was expiring soon.
“They were moving out anyway,” Stapleton said. “The lease was up on that residence, so it’s another suspicious circumstance that’s not suspicious at all once you look at the true facts.”
Reyes and her husband were last seen together on May 6 by the manager at the apartment complex.
He told police he last spoke to his wife over the phone at 10:45 p.m. May 7, and that she said she was going “clubbing” with unknown friends.
She never reported for her shift at a Garden Grove El Pollo Loco the next day.
The couple’s 4-year-old son is staying with his father, Stapleton said.
“He’s scared to death his wife is gone, and that no one has heard from her,” he said.
El Pollo Loco, where Reyes works, put out a statement Wednesday: “We are saddened by this news and are hoping for Claudia’s safe return. We are cooperating with the Santa Ana Police Department in their investigation and urge anyone with information to contact the local authorities” at 714-245-8700.
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