About a month ago, law enforcement announced that they had new information in a brutal and perplexing cold case and were hoping to soon make an arrest. Now, after 45 years, it appears that the cold case rape and murder of Loretta Jones has finally been solved. In fact, police say that their suspect, one Thomas Edward Egley of Colorado, has actually confessed to the horrific crime that took place nearly half a century ago.
In addition to confessing to the rape and murder in the cold case of Loretta Jones, Egley also reportedly confessed to hindering the investigation into the cold case by destroying evidence that would have likely led to his arrest.
As Fox 13 Now reports, the Utah cold case arrest took place in Colorado, where 76-year-old Thomas Edward Egley was picked up on a $1 million warrant issued in connection with Loretta’s rape and murder. The suspect in the Utah case is currently being held in Colorado, pending his extradition back to Carbon County, Utah, where the rape and murder of Loretta Jones took place at the end of July, 1970.
“We’re grateful for the hard work that Carbon County investigators put into solving this 45 year old cold case. We hope this arrest brings some measure of closure to the family, even after all these years.”
The Utah cold case of Loretta Jones was featured on Good4Utah back in 2010, and the report unveiled some disturbing details in the cold case. At the time, Jones’s loved ones, including a daughter who was just 4 years old at the time of her ruthless rape and murder, held out little hope that her killer would ever be brought to justice. Especially after four decades full of questions without answers.
Carbon County investigators looking for help from Utah Attorney General's Office in solving a 1970 cold case murder. pic.twitter.com/7UHXXfX2j2— Brian Mullahy (@bmullahy2news) June 29, 2016
However, Carbon County investigators were, at that time, reopening the Utah cold case in hopes of eventually making an arrest.
Even 40 years after the fact.
“It was a horrific crime and extremely violent.”
According to reports, the 4-year-old daughter of the Utah cold case victim was one of only two living witnesses to the rape and murder of Loretta Jones. The other was Loretta’s killer.
Disturbingly, Heidi Jones watched her mother’s murder while hiding behind a door and peering through the opening of a keyhole while the unthinkable was taking place in the next room. After the murderer left, the then-young child ran to a neighbor’s home in shock, looking for help for her mother.
Arrest made in cold case 46 years after rape, murder of Utah woman https://t.co/2yE0J4rp6w— FOX 13 NOW (@fox13) August 18, 2016
According to the woman who found the body, the bloody scene, the young child, and her neighbor’s lifeless corpse will always be tattooed in her memory.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. I saw her lying on the floor, in blood. I mean she just almost looked like a ghost. She was just white. It isn’t anything I’d want to see again.”
According to investigators who worked on the Utah cold case for over 40 years in search of an arrest, Jones had been raped and repeatedly stabbed. Initially, police thought that they had solved the now-cold case and even made an arrest shortly after the crime was discovered. That initial arrest, however, didn’t pan out. The suspect was ultimately released from custody.
Fast forward 40 years to Utah cold case detective David Brewer, who happened to bump into the murder victim’s daughter Heidi on the street decades after the crime. It was that encounter that prompted Brewer to reopen the Utah cold case and once again seek an arrest for Loretta Jones and her family.
The only thing that the Utah detective had to go on in the cold case were old news clippings and the eyewitness testimony of a woman who was only 4 years old at the time of the crime. At the time the Utah cold case was reopened, there was little hope that an arrest would be forthcoming.
The investigative trepidation didn’t last long, however, and soon interviews were resulting in utter strangers telling the detective the same story. In 2010, Detective Brewer was hopeful that he knew who he was looking for in the Utah cold case and that he was getting closer and closer to making an arrest.
“The biggest break came when we located a girlfriend of a suspect we had. That’s when it really took off. She had some amazing details that no one could know.”
Since the Utah cold case was reopened, Brewer has been promoted to detective and has gotten the help he needed to make an arrest in the case. The Carbon County Attorney released a statement on August 18 congratulating Sergeant Brewer and a Detective Hendricks for a job well done in finally making an arrest in the Utah cold case.
“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. Sergeant Brewer and Detective Hendricks from the Carbon County Sheriff’s office should be commended for their efforts.”
It is not yet known when Thomas Edward Egley will be extradited back to Carbon County to face the music related to his arrest in the Utah cold case.
[Image via Carbon County Sheriff’s Department]