Cold Murder and rape cases involving a suspect arrested from 30+ years ago

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Arizona authorities reported that two cases of cold-case murder and one of separate rape were both being investigated and the suspect was taken into custody. Both occurred in the same apartment block.

Thomas D. Cox 58 was extradited to Arizona from Colorado over the weekend. According to online records, he has been charged with 16 felonies including murder, sexual assault and kidnapping. According to records, he has been held in lieu of $1,000,000 cash bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on May 5.

After enhanced fingerprint and DNA analysis revealed that Cox was linked to both crime scenes in Colorado Springs, authorities arrested him. After Cox was arrested for an unrelated offense, authorities in Arizona said they matched Cox’s fingerprints and genetic information with evidence from Colorado.

“We just constantly look for stuff. When there’s new technology or new techniques on how to identify a suspect or examine evidence we buy into that, and we re-examine the evidence as the years go on and in this particular case it worked out dramatically,” Mesa Police Department Sgt. Chuck Trapani retorted KSAZ-TV.

In 1989, 22-year-old Susan Amy Morse was found dead in her apartment near Country Club Drive and Southern Avenue, police said. Authorities said that Morse lived alone, and there was no evidence of forced entry. An autopsy revealed that her cause of death had been strangulation.

Police said that she was beaten, sexually assaulted, and left lying in bed with the covers around her. After she didn’t show up to work, her parents asked for a welfare check.

One year later, another woman was attacked at the same apartment complex. After being sexually assaulted, that 23-year-old victim survived. Police said that her attacker took cash and a VCR from her before she fled.

Police were called to her home and she told them that a man had entered her house through the window. He held a knife to her stomach, and threatened to rape her. She survived the attack.

Police stated that both cases ended cold, despite all the efforts of investigators. Although Morse’s parents died in the meantime, police were able locate other relatives who could tell them about the arrest. Also, the rape survivor of the crime was notified. “She is still alive and from what the detective told me, she is so happy that we possibly caught the suspect,”Trapani said.

“This case exemplifies that the passage of time does not deter law enforcement’s persistence for truth and justice,”The FBI released a statement. Both cases were investigated by the FBI, which was helping Mesa police. 

“The results of this cooperative effort will provide the victims and their families the long-awaited justice they deserve,”The statement was as follows: