CARBON COUNTY, Utah -- A cold case murder out of Carbon County, dating back to 1970, could soon be resolved.
On Wednesday, Thomas Edward Egley appeared in 7th District Court regarding the rape and murder of Loretta Jones 46 years earlier.
Jones’ daughter, Heidi Jones-Asay, discovered her mother’s body inside their Price home in July of 1970. She was 4-years-old at the time. Her mother was 23.
"From day one I knew it was Tom, day one I knew it was Tom,” Jones-Asay said.
For the past four-plus decades, Jones- Asay has been carrying around a 1970 newspaper clipping of Egley being released from custody. He was questioned regarding the rape and murder of her mother, but he was never charged until now.
"It's very difficult to think that there was a man out there that got away with this,” Jones-Asay said. "There is still my mom that had no closure on her case, I didn't have closure, my family didn't have closure.”
Egley, now 76, appeared before a judge, by way of video from the Carbon County Jail. He was officially charged with the rape and murder of Loretta Jones. Egley acknowledged that he understood the charges, but no plea was entered.
"Just hearing the sound of his voice after all this time, it fills you with a bunch of emotion," said Jones-Asay, who was inside the courtroom.
Jones-Asay said there was a time she feared this day would never come. She credits Sgt. David Brewer of the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office for reopening the cold case back in 2009.
"It was really building a new case from scratch," Brewer said.
Brewer began with the fact that Egley went on a blind date with Jones shortly before her murder. Brewer was able to connect the dots, eventually leading him to several face-to-face interviews with Egley at his home in Colorado.
"He kind of gave us some omissions, not necessarily confessions, but things that kind of raised our eyebrows a little bit,” Brewer said.
Brewer believes the decision to exhume Jones' body to collect DNA evidence is what pushed Egley to confess to the rape and murder, leading to his arrest earlier this month.
"For me personally it hasn't sunk in yet," Brewer said. "I think maybe after the whole court process is over, I think I can maybe have some alone time and maybe it will sink in after that."
Egley's next court appearance is scheduled for September 6, when he is expected to receive a court appointed attorney. He said he could not afford one on his own. During that court appearance he is expected to stand before the judge in person.