Second man charged with stuffing murdered woman into duffle bag found in her boyfriend’s apartment

From left: Genesis Silva, Brittany Battaglia, Peter Mathes. | Chicago Police Department

CHICAGO — Prosecutors have charged a second man with concealing a murdered woman’s body in Logan Square earlier this year.

Chicago police detectives allegedly found 33-year-old Brittany Battaglia’s body stuffed inside a large duffle bag in her boyfriend’s bedroom days after she went missing on June 2.

Prosecutors charged the boyfriend, Genesis Silva, a registered sex offender, with concealing a homicidal death and being a felon in possession of a weapon earlier this year. The weapon he is accused of carrying is a machete that cops allegedly found in a backpack he had when they arrested him.

Now, another man is accused of helping Silva hide Battaglia’s body.

Prosecutors charged Peter Mathes, 37, on Friday with concealing a homicidal death in connection with the case. Chicago police said in Mathes’ arrest report that he “participated in concealing the death of Brittany Battaglia,” who had been “stuffed into a duffle bag after she was murdered.”

The felony complaint filed against Mathes said he wrapped Battaglia’s body in the duffle bag.

Court records show Judge Susana Ortiz released Mathes on electronic monitoring Friday afternoon. Concealing a homicidal death is not a detainable offense under Illinois’ newly enacted Pretrial Fairness Act.

Silva remains jailed in lieu of a $150,000 bail deposit.

Missing Person

Prosecutors said Silva and Battaglia had been dating for about a year when she went missing this spring. Her roommate last saw her around 6:30 p.m. on June 2 when Battaglia left their apartment, saying she planned to walk to Silva’s nearby home and then go to a party.

Officials said the roommate and the roommate’s boyfriend filed separate missing person reports when Battaglia did not return.

Chicago police officers working the missing person investigation staked out Silva’s home and stopped him for a conversation when he stepped outside on June 5.

With a red and black backpack draped over his shoulder, Silva spoke with the detectives and took them to his apartment in the 2000 block of North Kimball, prosecutors said. Police later discovered a machete inside the backpack he was carrying.

Evidence collected

Detectives found Battaglia’s body inside a large duffle bag in Silva’s bedroom, prosecutors alleged.

In the kitchen, two garbage bags near a tarp contained shoes, a bucket, a paint suit, gloves, bleach, and a Swiffer. Tests of the materials showed the presence of blood, but none was visible, according to prosecutors. The police also found three lists of items like cleaning supplies, chemicals, and boots.

A recovered note that allegedly read, “Can you ask average time until smell, etc?”

Officials claimed Silva was carrying two phones, two pocket knives, and an icepick when police arrested him. The machete in his backpack also tested positive for blood, prosecutors said. A second machete was found in his car.

The medical examiner ruled Battaglia’s death a homicide by multiple sharp-force wounds.

Background

Silva was charged with attempted murder and sexual assault of his wife in 2009, prosecutors said during his bail hearing earlier this year. After returning home from a party, the couple argued, and he strangled her, repeatedly asking, “Why won’t you just die?”

He then forced her into bed at knifepoint and sexually assaulted her, according to officials.

Prosecutors eventually settled the case by allowing Silva to plead guilty to a single charge of criminal sexual abuse in exchange for a two-year probation sentence.

The couple has since divorced.

“He had a deep hate for women,” Silva’s ex-wife told the Sun-Times in June. “It’s definitely one of those American Psycho type of things because it’s like two completely different sides of a person.”

‘Turned his life around’

“By all accounts, Mr. Silva has turned his life around,” his defense attorney argued in June. She said he participated in “harm reduction” by distributing Narcan and discouraging the use of narcotics. 

A Whitney Young graduate, he owned Genesis Platforms, an audiovisual consulting company, the lawyer continued.

She also argued that a machete does not qualify as a weapon under relevant state law.

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About Tim Hecke 252 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com