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A man has been arrested for murder after police located a missing mother’s body near a Utah river on the Fourth of July.
William O’Reilly, 75, once worked with Masako Yamada Kenley, 53, at the United States Postal Service. In a news release the Sandy City Police Department said O’Reilly is now being charged in her death with counts of aggravated murder, desecration of a corpse, and obstruction of justice.
Kenley was last seen on Friday at around 4:00 p.m. in the city of Midvale in Salt Lake County, according to an earlier post on the police department’s Facebook page. Her car was later found in a parking lot.
On Saturday, investigators discovered her body concealed by thick brush and grass, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by KSL News.
Because of the terrain, police had to use cadaver dogs from Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs Inc. to assist with the search, according to the news release.
While the medical examiner has yet to release an official cause of death, Sandy Police Lt. Dean Carriger offered details in the affidavit.
“Kenley sustained two gunshot wounds; one was to her chest,” said Carriger. “She also had multiple injuries that were consistent with an edged weapon. She was shot and stabbed. In this order, that has not been determined yet.”
Police named O’Reilly as a suspect after using cell phone data and surveillance video to track Kenley's whereabouts. Evidence showed that the two were together around the time she disappeared, though it was unclear to police whether or not Kenley went willingly with O’Reilly or if she was taken against her will.
Since his arrest, O’Reilly has admitted to turning off Kenley's phone and removing the GPS tracking from her vehicle. Police also collected Kenley’s purse and shoes from O’Reilly’s vehicle.
“I’m afraid that she stood up for herself,” Kenley’s friend, Tracy Collar, told KUTV News..“…and he shot her and killed her because I think he was so deranged that he was under the assumption of, ‘if I can’t have her, nobody can,” Collar and Kenley worked together for 18 years at the United States Postal Service.
According to Collar, O’Reilly had previously worked for the USPS, but in a department separate from Kenley. O’Reilly had since retired.
“The weirdness came in after he officially retired from the post office,” Collar told KUTV.
Collar said that Kenley's husband allegedly told O’Reilly to stay away from her. The interactions allegedly started with O’Reilly regularly delivering fresh eggs to the Kenley home, but then the visits became more frequent, and he began “following her, tracking her, and threatening her,” according to KUTV.
“I was there; I witnessed the whole thing,” said Collar. “Lots of stuff happened, and so it was very creepy. And very not normal.”
Kenley’s USPS supervisor was also no stranger to the friction between Kenley and O’Reilly.
“I heard that she knew, or had problems with him in the past,” her supervisor, Jill Jensen, told KUTV News.
Kenley's husband, Bill Kenley, issued a statement.
“I want to express my deep gratitude to the police and the countless volunteers for their help in finding Masako,” said Bill Kenley, according to KUTV News. “We are overwhelmed at the number of people who have helped us at this difficult time. Your prayers and support have meant the world to my family and me. Losing Masako is devastating, but we feel blessed to have had her in out lives for as long as we did. We will never forget your kindness, generosity, and love.”
A GoFundMe page has surpassed its fundraising goal to help bring relatives from Japan to attend a funeral. According to the page, Kenley leaves behind four children.
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