A 76-year-old Colorado man was arrested Thursday in the 1970 murder and rape of a Utah woman more than 40 years ago, authorities said.
According to Fox 13 Now, Thomas Edward Egley confessed to the July 1970 murder and rape of Loretta Jones, the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. Sgt. David Brewer said that Egley also confessed to destroying evidence that would have linked him to the crime.
“We’re grateful for the hard work that Carbon County investigators put into solving this 45 year old cold case,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a press release. “I hope this arrest brings some measure of closure to the family, even after all these years.”
The case had been reopened in 2009 at the request of her family.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that a neighbor convinced Egley to confess to investigators and arranged the man to meet with investigators at his home in Colorado, according to charging documents.
Brewer told the paper last year that Egley and Jones used to date and that Egley had asked his neighbor how long DNA evidence and semen lasted when Jones’ body was exhumed.
The Tribune reported that Egley admitted to police last month that he had slit Jones’ throat when he was denied sex. According to charging documents, Egley expanded on the gruesome details to his neighbor.
He said that he thought Jones was still alive and that he had sex with her and “cut her throat,” according to the documents. He said he left Jones on the floor. Jones’ 4-year-old daughter found her mother dead on their living room floor.
Egley told his neighbor that he then went back to his hotel room, bathed with all of his clothes on and then threw the clothes out the next day. He said he also tossed the knife he used to murder Jones in the river behind the hotel.
Egley was arrested in November 1970 and charged with murder. However, the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence.
Egley, of Rocky Ford, Colo., was arrested on a $1 million warrant. He awaits extradition to Utah to face rape and murder charges.
“The community of Carbon County, particularly the victim’s daughter who was four years old at the time, can finally find solace in knowing Loretta Jones’s family will have the justice they deserve resulting from the tragic death of Ms. Jones some 45 years ago,” Carbon County Attorney Gene Strate said.
“Sergeant Brewer and Detective Hendricks from the Carbon County Sheriff’s office should be commended for their efforts,” he added.