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Arrest made in cold case 46 years after rape, murder of Utah woman

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Posted at 3:22 PM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-20 17:26:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- More than 40 years after the rape and murder of Loretta Jones, a man has been arrested after police say he confessed to committing the crime.

Loretta Jones. Image courtesy Justice for Loretta Jones via Facebook.

Loretta Jones. Image courtesy Justice for Loretta Jones via Facebook.

Loretta Jones was raped and murdered on or about July 30 of 1970, and at the request of her family the cold case was reopened in 2009.

Sgt. David Brewer of the Carbon County Sheriff's Office reopened the case and recently obtained the confession of Thomas Edward Egley, according to a press release from the sheriff's office issued Thursday. 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 stated in the press release. “I hope this arrest brings some measure of closure to the family, even after all these years.”

Egley was arrested on a $1 million warrant in Colorado, where he currently resides. He awaits extradition to Utah to face charges of rape and murder.

Heidi Jones-Asay, Jones' daughter, said she was the one who found her mother after the murder.

“So I looked out of the keyhole before I went into the front room, and that’s when I saw something…something laying on the front room floor and, you know, I opened the door and it’s my mom’s body, and there’s blood everywhere," she recalled.

Jones-Asay said she always suspected Egley was responsible for her mother's death. Officials in Carbon County said the arrest will bring peace to the family.

“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," stated Gene Strate, the Carbon County Attorney. "Sergeant Brewer and Detective Hendricks from the Carbon County Sheriff's office should be commended for their efforts."

The arrest comes a few weeks after loved ones held a tribute ride to raise awareness about the cold case.