A man is under arrest for the homicide of a mother of four found dead on the banks of Utah’s Jordan River on the Fourth of July.
Masako Yamada Kenley, 53, was last seen alive around 4 p.m. on July 2 as she drove north from Sandy toward Layton, where she was to meet with friends for dinner. Police said her Honda Odyssey was abandoned in a Costco parking lot.
On the evening of July 4, police using rescue dogs discovered the missing woman’s body along the river in a heavily wooded area filled with thick brush.
According to the South Salt Lake Police Department, officers arrested William Richard O’Reilly, a 75-year-old acquaintance of Kenley, on suspicion of murder and are investigating their relationship as well as a possible motive for the crime. Authorities are conducting an autopsy to determine how the victim died.
KUTV reported Kenley and the suspect worked together. Kenley was employed with the United States Postal Service for two decades, and coworkers alleged the suspect seemed “obsessed” with Kenley.
"I heard that she knew, or had problems with him in the past," her USPS supervisor, Jill Jensen, told the station.
Kenly was remembered by those who knew her as positive and talkative.
“I just want this world to know that Masako was a beautiful, beautiful person, and she is going to be missed tremendously by so many,” Jensen said.
O’Reilly faces felony charges of aggravated murder, desecration of a human body and obstruction of justice, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Police have not revealed what led them to connect the man with Kenley’s murder.
Loved ones set up a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for flights and other expenses for seven of the victim’s relatives traveling from Japan to the United States for the funeral.