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Sandy woman blackmailed by man accused of killing her, documents show

Masako Kenley.jpg
Posted at 1:34 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 18:00:08-04

SANDY, Utah — The Sandy woman reported missing in July and later found dead near the Jordan River was being blackmailed by the man who is accused of killing her, court documents says.

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The search for 53-year-old Masako Kenley began July 2 after her husband reported her missing. Kenley's abandoned minivan was found the following day in a Costco parking lot, almost 24 hours before her body was discovered along the river near 8900 South and 700 West.

William O'Reilly, 75, was arrested and charged with aggravated murder, desecration of a corpse and obstruction of justice. According to an affidavit released Monday, Kenley had been shot twice and stabbed multiple times.

The investigation into Kenley's murder found that she had been having an affair with O'Reilly for the previous 16 years. In order to track Kenley, detectives say O'Reilly had placed a GPS device on a minivan he had bought for her. Kenley discovered the device after it was discovered by mechanics working on the vehicle.

O'Reilly had been blackmailing Kenley to have "sexual relations," saying he would tell her husband about the affair, the documents say. The night Kenley disappeared, she told her husband she was going to dinner in Layton with friends, but was instead meeting up with O'Reilly.

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In an interview with detectives, O'Reilly said he and Kenley had a "disagreement over finances" in a hotel room the night of July 2, and that she had demanded he remove the tracker from her Honda Odyssey. He claimed he did not see Kenley after she left the hotel, but had tracked her minivan to the Costco and removed the GPS device while it sat in the parking lot.

However, despite telling detectives he did not enter the vehicle as it sat in the parking lot, O'Reilly later admitted he "taken Masako's purse out of the Honda and had actually driven the Honda to the hotel because he was angry and wanted to spite Masako." O'Reilly said he drove the minivan back to the Costco the following day.

Despite O'Reilly's story, surveillance video showed Kenley arriving at the hotel around 3:45 p.m. before she and O'Reilly both left together in the Honda at 4:05 p.m. O'Reilly is then seen returning alone to the hotel at 5:02 p.m.

O'Reilly was seen on video leaving the hotel in his Toyota Corolla again at 6:06 p.m. and returning an hour later. He told police his "memory was not very good" when asked where he was during that time.

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Video from a nearby 7-Eleven showed a minivan similar to Kenley's driving into the "off-road area of the Jordan river bottoms of 8900 South and 700 West" on July 2 around 4:35 p.m.

When told to be honest by the detective because they would eventually find Kenley's body, O'Reilly responded "I know," but denied hurting her. A search of O'Reilly's phone found he had deleted all his text and phone messages.

Following his interview with detectives, O'Reilly allegedly went to his South Jordan home and attempted to commit suicide by overdose. While recovering in the hospital, O'Reilly changed his story and said he and Kenley had driven to the Salt Lake area in the minivan on July 2 and got into an argument before she left the vehicle, leaving her wallet and one sandal inside.

Kenley's body was discovered along the Jordan River on July 4 near the area where the minivan was captured by the convenience store security cameras. When told by detectives that the cameras had captured him driving alone from the river, "O'Reilly exclaimed, 'There is a 7-11 there?'"

After being read his Miranda rights, O'Reilly was asked about a handgun that he taken to his brother-in-law who claimed O'Reilly said it had jammed. O'Reilly said he had fired the gun "into a ditch behind his home" on July 2 and brought it to his brother-in-law to clear the jam.