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Boyfriend of woman missing since 1988 booked in Utah on murder charge

SPANISH FORK, Utah - The boyfriend of a woman who went missing 28 years ago has been booked in Utah on a murder charge, reports CBS affiliate KUTV.

Michael Ignatius Kufrin was arrested in Illinois in July and charged for the murder of Peggy Sue Case, who went missing in July 1988.

Michael Kufrin Utah County Sheriff's Office

On May 22, Spanish Fork police officers were dispatched to the residence the couple once shared on the report of skeletal remains found in a cement cellar behind the residence. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the tenant living there noticed sagging in the cellar's dirt floor and decided to dig with a friend, curious because he heard from a neighbor about Case's disappearance.

The two uncovered an apparent human skull wrapped in a blanket and plastic mesh, buried about 18 inches deep, according to the paper, and called police.

KUTV reports that the remains were sent to the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office, and later determined to be Peggy Sue Case.

Case was last seen at a hot-tub party she attended with Kufrin on July 9, 1988 in Payson. At the time, police said they suspected foul play, but had no evidence of a crime.

After Case's remains were discovered, the Tribune reports that Spanish Fork detective Carl Johnston said witnesses reported hostility between the two when Kufrin accused Case of flirting with some men at the party. The two left together, and Case was never seen again. Kufrin reportedly called Case's workplace to report her sick after the party, and the next day told Case's employers she had gone out of town to buy a car.

According to the paper, co-workers, suspicious because the behavior was unlike her, reported Case missing July 15, 1988. Kufrin initially claimed Case was staying in contact with him, but later stopped cooperating with police. He reportedly served time in an unrelated attempted theft case before moving back to his home state of Illinois, where he was arrested July 17.

Kufrin remained in custody in Illinois until Oct. 30, when he was extradited back to Utah and booked into the Utah County Jail for murder.

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