Colorado man arrested for Arizona cold cases decades ago, including young woman's murder

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A Colorado man suspected in a pair of cold cases, including the 1989 killing of a young woman and the sexual assault of another, which occurred more than three decades ago in the same Arizona apartment complex has been arrested, authorities said Tuesday.

Thomas Cox, 58, was taken into custody in Colorado Springs and extradited to Arizona to face charges for the death of 22-year-old Susan Amy Morse.

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Susan Amy Morse was killed in 1989 and found dead in her Mesa, Arizona apartment unit. Her alleged killer was arrested and charged, authorities said Tuesday.

Susan Amy Morse was killed in 1989 and found dead in her Mesa, Arizona apartment unit. Her alleged killer was arrested and charged, authorities said Tuesday.
(Silent Witness)

He was linked to the crimes after investigators used advanced DNA and fingerprint technology.

“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 told Fox affiliate KSAZ-TV.

Morse was killed on October 16, 1989 and was found dead in her Mesa, Arizona apartment where she lived alone. It was later determined she died of asphyxiation.

In November 1990, Cox allegedly broke into the same apartment complex and sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman, stealing her cash and VCR. She survived, police said. 

Cox wasn’t initially identified as a suspect in either case, but investigators said his mother lived next to Morse. 

Thomas Cox

Thomas Cox
(Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

He is being held on $1 million bail and faces 16 criminal counts, including first-degree murder, sexual assault, burglary and kidnapping.

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