Brittany Battaglia: Boyfriend charged with hiding missing Chicago woman's body in apartment

A convicted felon and registered sex offender was charged Wednesday with hiding the body of his girlfriend, who was found stabbed to death earlier this week at his Logan Square apartment after she was reported missing by her family.

Genesis Silva, 34, was charged with a felony count of concealing the death of Brittany Battaglia and a misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer, according to Chicago police.

Police said the investigation into the slaying "remains ongoing by area detectives at the time."

Battaglia, 33, was discovered Monday night during a search of Silva’s apartment in the 2000 block of North Kimball Avenue, police said. She was last seen Friday after heading there from her home just a block away.

An autopsy found she died from "multiple incised wounds" and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Her brother, AJ Battaglia, said he believes Silva remains the prime suspect in the killing. He said investigators have told the family they "are thoroughly investigating and trying to do everything by the book" to bring first-degree murder charges in the case.

He said the last week "has been a disaster" for the family. They have been going back and forth between Galena and Chicago to attend to his sister’s affairs, and he was even questioned by the state’s attorney’s office in connection with the investigation.


Battaglia remembered his sister as a free spirit who "always lived life to the fullest." She worked as a cosmetologist and esthetician but was also an artist, the family has said.

"She didn’t care about what people thought about her, she didn’t care about the stigma of certain things," he said. "She lived life how she wanted to live it and she was happy."

Silva has been a registered sex offender since he pleaded guilty to a felony count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in 2009, according to the Illinois State Police and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. He was sentenced to two years of probation.

The victim, Diana Ochoa, was his wife at the time, Cook County court records show.

In a deposition in subsequent divorce proceedings, Ochoa told a judge that Silva initially punched her in the chest and held her down with his knees. The violence continued the following day, when Ochoa said he threw her onto a bed, bit and choked her and then threatened her with a knife and sexually assaulted her.

In an interview, Ochoa insisted that prosecutors just "wanted to settle" the case, noting that having him placed on the sex offender registry was "the bare minimum" she asked for. She complained he wasn’t incarcerated after initially facing 13 charges, all of which were Class X felonies, the most serious offenses in the state.

Their relationship began at Whitney M, Young Magnet High School, where Ochoa said Silva had a large group of friends and helped launch a streaming radio station. It culminated with them getting married, Ochoa said, describing the nuptials as "a stupid teenage thing" that happened with little fanfare.

Eventually, though, Silva’s "dark side" began to rear its head. Ochoa said he lied compulsively, obsessively had sex with random people and was stifled by childhood traumas and his troubled relationship with his mother.

"He had a deep hate for women," Ochoa said. "Everything with him was about sexual degradation. He liked to justify his violent tendencies, saying it was just sexual preferences."

Still, he was "a pretty good father figure" to the child Ochoa had with someone else, and he didn’t abuse her for much of their relationship, she said. "It basically came out of nowhere when he attacked me," she added.

"It’s definitely one of those American Psycho type of things because it’s like two completely different sides of a person," she said, referencing the film starring Christian Bale as an investment banker who’s also a calculated serial killer.

When she was told Silva was a suspect in Battaglia’s killing, Ochoa said she hoped he would "have to go away for hopefully the rest of his life."

"I’m also really sad that this even had to happen in the first place," she said. "In my opinion, he should’ve gone away to prison when he tried to kill me."

A former acquaintance of Silva’s, who requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation, recalled disturbing encounters with him, describing him as a "manipulative" person with a sometimes intimidating presence and fiery temper.

Their relationship frayed after he made an alarming sexual overture and openly started using cocaine.

He also had a "collection" of knives and always kept one on him, the acquaintance said. "He’s really, really into knives," the acquaintance said. "And he talked about them all the time."