Homicide

Cops say man, 22, killed missing Iowa woman, hid body in her home

Gloria Gary, 49, disappeared Jan. 3; Kyle Jepson, 22, charged with her murder.

Gloria Gary, 49, disappeared Jan. 3; Kyle Jepson, 22, charged with her murder.  (Des Moines Police Department)

A missing 49-year-old woman was killed and her body hidden in her home where no one could see it, Des Moines, Iowa, police said Friday.

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Gloria Gary, 49, was reported missing Jan. 5. Police said she was last seen two days earlier, leaving her job.

Kyle Jepson, 22, was charged with killing the woman after he was picked up Thursday in Utah in her car. He was also charged with robbery and burglary.

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Local media reports suggest that Jepson led police to Gary's body.

Gary didn’t know Jepson, police said, according to the Des Moines Register.

A statement posted Friday on a Facebook page dedicated to finding Gary said, “We are not a vindictive people, and we will go forward with forgiveness in our hearts and pray and act for the betterment of humanity. Thank you all. Gloria, we will miss you, so much. Your niece and nephew weep for you. We all do.”

Police said Gary’s body was so well hidden it escaped detection by her family who were in and out of the house and investigators who were there once, the Register reported. They would not reveal where the body was eventually found or the nature of its wounds.  

“The problem with a missing persons case is if you haven't identified a criminal act, we can't move forward with a lot of search warrants,” Sgt. Paul Parizek said, according to the paper. “You have to have probable cause to do that.”

The sergeant was quoted as saying that investigators felt something was amiss about Gary's disappearance.

“We definitely knew that this was a unique case, and there were things about it that ... kind of made the hair stand up on the back of your neck,” Parizek said, according to the Register. “There was just something not right. It was really out of character for her. But 'out of character' is not a crime.”

Police first spotted Gary’s car in southern Utah on Wednesday.

Police said surveillance footage shot on that day shows Jepson at a convenience store. The images show a man with a tattoo covering his left forearm.

Jepson was taken into custody near Salt Lake City.