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Family of Yolanda Reyes comes face-to-face with alleged killer

Posted at 10:47 PM, Mar 11, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The man charged in the murder of a Grand Rapids mother went before a judge on Wednesday.

The body of Yolanda Reyes was found last May at a construction site, just a few weeks after she was reported missing. A construction worker came across her body while working at a building site near where she worked.

Her accused killer is one of her former co-workers, Shawn Jarrett, who has already spent 30 years behind bars for murder in Pennsylvania.

Reyes was a mother of four, and her family said that seeing Jarrett in person opened up unhealed wounds.

"Emotions are way up high," said family friend Xeomara Montenegro. "I spoke with Timoteo (Yolanda's husband) just quick right now, and he said that he totally feels like the day that they found her. So their wound is totally open not only for him, but for the rest of the family, too."

"I was touching all the kids hands, and they were totally cold, and, you know, they don't really know what to expect," said Montenegro. "They didn't know what was happening today. They want to find answers, but at the same time those answers are hard."

Coming face-to-face in court with the man charged with killing their beloved wife, mother, and friend, Yolanda Reyes' loved ones spoke to a judge about the moments they discovered she had not clocked in for work back on April 24, 2014.

Shawn Jarrett's girlfriend at the time testified that Jarrett had planned for the following day to be his last at the Neal Mast and Sons Greenhouse in Walker, but Jarrett came home in the afternoon saying he didn`t feel well.

John Dykema, the man who found Reyes' body, told the court he "was moving some clay around and saw some colorful clothing and questioned what it was. I was with two other guys, and we found an arm, and called the sheriff."

A crime scene investigator told the court that while examing Jarrett's vehicle, she found the head rest and a belt buckle in the back seat tested positive for blood.

Other co-workers said in court how they found Reyes' jacket and broken phone case the day after her disappearance.

Understanding this is just the beginning, the family said, and they will continue to support each other as they move closer to closure.

"The only thing is to stay strong for the kids. To remain together as a family. I guess they want to be as close as they can. That was the way Yolanda was. She was always smiling and being happy with the kids."

Jarrett will be back in court for this case on March 27.

He is already being held behind bars after being convicted in February for raping an elderly woman.