A 26-year-old Pennsylvania man is accused of stabbing a woman to death and hiding her body in a suitcase, Pittsburgh police told news outlets.
Officers arrested Montel Reed on Jan. 8 on charges of homicide, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police said in a Facebook post. The woman’s remains were found in a suitcase inside a shed behind a house on the 300 block of Reifert Street.
The victim was 38-year-old Crystal Leschner, outlets reported.
She and Reed had been in a relationship, according to family members and media outlets.
Reed was arrested in early December after he was accused of assaulting Leschner but was released from jail on Dec. 17, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. The December arrest was one of four domestic incidents involving the couple in the past year, the outlet said.
“She had marks all over her face and as a brother, it’s hard to see your baby sister go through anything like that,” Joey Leschner told WTAE. “I was hoping she didn’t go back [to Reed], but apparently she went back.”
She was a “very kindhearted person,” he told the station.
On Dec. 27, there was another domestic incident. But this time, police say Reed took a knife and stabbed Leschner in the neck, killing her, the Post-Gazette reported.
At first, he hid her body in a wall of the converted room she lived in, above a garage, the outlet reported. Reed lived in the basement of the house at the same address.
Reed put Leschner’s body in a suitcase later on, court documents said, fearing police would discover the body in the wall after a New Year’s Day altercation in which he and another man were accused of stabbing each other in the garage, the outlet reported.
According to the other man, Reed advertised a Playstation 4 for sale on Craiglist. When the man went to the garage to buy it, Reed stabbed him in the neck, the newspaper reported. The knife broke and the man fought back, stabbed Reed with the broken piece, escaped and called 911.
Reed was charged with robbery and jailed on Jan. 7, outlets reported.
The next day, Jan. 8, a Reifert Street resident called police saying they had found a body in a shed, WPXI reported.
Investigators identified the body, spoke to Leschner’s family and learned about her relationship with Reed, according to the TV station.
“She needs justice for what happened, and he needs to be put away for a long time,” Leschner’s sister, Chanel Warner, told WTAE. “He took away someone so special who we will never be able to get back. I’ll never be able to hug my sister.”
Reed was booked into the Allegheny County Jail on Jan. 8, Pittsburgh police said. The case is still under investigation.