Flashback Friday: Maria Reyes

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Maria I. Reyes, who disappeared from the New York City suburb of Pompton Lakes, New Jersey on March 22, 1976. She was 48 years old at the time, Chilean-born.

This appears to be a suspected case of what a friend of mine calls “spousal snuffage.” Maria and her husband of thirteen years, Hernan Reyes, were in the process of a contested divorce and she’d left him once before and gone back to Chile. But she returned in early 1976, possibly to get treatments for her breast cancer. Hernan said that on the day of her disappearance she packed up her bags and walked out. But she was recovering from a radical mastectomy and very weak, and it’s questionable whether she was even physically capable of doing what her husband claimed.

After Maria’s disappearance their divorce went through and Hernan remarried and moved away. He’s dead now; we may never know what happened to his wife.

I don’t know if a radical mastectomy leaves traces on a skeleton, but it sounds like it might. Maria was tiny — 4’10 and well under 100 pounds. It’s possible her body has been found and is a UID somewhere. In the unlikely event that she’s still alive, she would be in her mid-eighties today.

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5 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Maria Reyes

  1. M86 May 9, 2014 / 2:02 am

    Definitely sounds like the husband did it. I checked out the street on Google Street View where they lived… It looks like a very quiet, well-kept neighborhood… Probably considered upper middle class back in the 70s.

    And it sounds like radical mastectomies are not even performed anymore. So sad.

    • Meaghan May 9, 2014 / 3:08 am

      It does sound like a truly awful procedure. I’m glad doctors have found better ways.

  2. aphra75 May 9, 2014 / 10:19 pm

    I ran across an UID listing somewhere (probably Doe Network, I don’t think it was NAMUS) that looked really similar to Ms. Reyes, especially her smile. The circumstances were also similar–I believe the UID had had a mastectomy. But this was several years ago. If I ever find it again I’ll run it by you guys.

  3. LJ June 12, 2014 / 12:09 am

    Pompton Lakes is not a suburb of NYC. It is a town in NJ. I live a few towns over and we are not all suburbs of NYC. Yes, this is a personal irritant.

    • Meaghan June 25, 2014 / 9:17 pm

      The Wikipedia entry for Pompton Lakes says “An outer-ring suburb of New York City, Pompton Lakes is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Midtown Manhattan.”

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