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DNA links man to 1989 murder and 1990 sexual assault in same Arizona apartment complex

Tracing family trees to catch killers
Tracing family trees to catch killers 01:56

A suspect from Colorado has been arrested in connection with two cold cases that occurred more than three decades ago in the same Mesa, Arizona apartment complex, police said Tuesday.

They said 58-year-old Thomas Davis Cox is being held on a $1 million cash bond after being indicted on 16 counts in the cases including suspicion of first-degree murder, sexual assault, burglary and kidnapping.

Court records show 22-year-old Susan Amy Morse was found dead in her apartment in October 1989. Police said the woman had been sexually molested and died from asphyxiation.

"She was last seen by neighbors late the night before, so we don't know if someone came and knocked on her door and she opened it or whether the person was known to her," Mesa homicide Detective Teresa Van Galder told KTAR in 2019.

In November 1990, police said a man broke into the same apartment complex and sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman who lived there.

Thomas Davis Cox  Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

She survived the attack and the suspect stole cash and a VCR from the victim's apartment before fleeing the scene, according to authorities.

Police said Cox recently was connected to both cases by advanced DNA technology and analysis of fingerprints from a misdemeanor arrest, KPHO-TV reports.

They said Cox was found to be living in Colorado Springs, Colorado and was extradited to Phoenix.

It was unclear Tuesday if Cox has a lawyer yet who can speak on his behalf.

Susan Amy Morse  Silent Witness
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