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Palm Springs murder suspect lied to investigators, according to court documents

A man who was found living with his children in a Kansas storage unit, with his wife’s dismembered remains in an ice chest, lied to police during an unrelated investigation into the slaying of a Palm Springs resident, stating he’d dropped the man off with homeowners who had never met or
heard of the victim, court documents allege.

Justin Todd Rey, 35, is charged with murdering Sean Ty Ferel, who disappeared in May 2016 after going on vacation with Rey, who allegedly stole the victim’s car, credit cards and other property after killing him, according to Palm Springs police.

Read: Arrest warrant issued for Palm Springs man’s murder

Rey crashed Ferel’s car in Los Angeles in August 2016 and made a failed attempt to flee from officers there, according to an arrest warrant declaration prepared by Palm Springs police Detective Mario Kasal.

Police found Ferel’s blood inside the trunk, along with his driver’s license, credit cards and phone, but his body has not been located. More of Ferel’s property was recovered by police inside a Kingman, Arizona, storage unit rented to Rey, according to investigators.

Rey told police that he dropped Ferel off at a home in Menifee in good condition, though the homeowners who live there did not know Ferel and never saw him, according to the arrest warrant declaration. The last known sighting of Ferel, then 65, was on May 7, 2016.

Rey is currently being held in Johnson County, Kansas, where authorities found him and two of his children living inside a storage unit in Lenexa last month. Police say the remains of his wife, Jessica Monteiro Rey, were found inside an ice chest in the storage facility.

Rey is charged with two counts each of aggravated child endangerment and contributing to a child’s misconduct, but has not been formally accused in his wife’s death.

Riverside County prosecutors filed a murder case against Rey last last week, stating that shortly after Ferel disappeared, “several thousand dollars” in charges were made on the victim’s credit cards. Rey was allegedly captured on surveillance footage using Ferel’s credit cards at businesses in Palm Springs, Yucca Valley and Kingman, Arizona.

Ferel’s loved ones received texts from his phone, but the messages signified “a marked change in the way Ferel would respond,” leading them to conclude someone else was sending them, according to Palm Springs Sgt. William Hutchinson.

A passenger in the Los Angeles crash told police that Rey mentioned routinely stealing property from “old dead guys,” claiming he took bank and/or credit cards from dead people’s homes, according to the arrest warrant declaration.

While giving rides to a man and woman earlier that month in Arizona, Rey allegedly got into a heated argument with the male passenger, then after dropping him off, told the female passenger, “Oh…I could have just slit his throat and took his wallet, but I didn’t do that,” the declaration says.

Read: New details emerge about man accused in murder of Palm Springs resident

California authorities are working to extradite Rey from Kansas, where he’s being held on $1 million bail.

Authorities have not commented on his wife’s cause of death and Rey has provided conflicting statements as to how she died.

Rey allegedly told police his wife died while giving birth inside a Kansas City hotel. However, footage from a Johnson County court hearing shows Rey contending that his wife committed suicide and accusing authorities of kidnapping his children.

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