OLATHE, Kan. — A man arrested at a Lenexa storage unit with two of his children and his wife’s remains says he dismembered her body to protect his family.
During a preliminary hearing Tuesday, Justin Rey testified that he cut up the body of his wife, Jessica Rey, at a KCMO hotel in October 2017.
The 36-year-old told a Johnson County judge he did so because he wanted to keep his family together, the Kansas City Star reports.
“It’s something I had to do,” Rey said Tuesday in Johnson County District Court. “My family is very dear to me. It’s something I had to do to protect my family.”
Rey initially said his wife died in childbirth but also told investigators she died by suicide. Court documents say Rey spent two days with her body in the hotel before dismembering her. Police believe Rey’s children were in the hotel room as he did so.
Investigators later found him and two small children with his wife’s remains in a cooler at a Lenexa storage unit. He said he was taking the remains back to Arizona for burial.
Rey is charged with two counts of aggravated child endangerment and two counts of contributing to a child’s misconduct in Johnson County. In court Tuesday, Rey pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In Jackson County, he is also charged with abandonment of a corpse. Rey isn’t charged in his wife’s killing.
In December 2017, a judge ruled Justin Rey incompetent to stand trial and sent him to Larned State Hospital for 90 days to get treatment. In July, after another mental health evaluation, Rey was found competent.