A missing Utah mother-of-four was found dead on July 4, and a man described by authorities as her “acquaintance” is accused of murdering her.
Masako Yamada Kenley was last seen in Midvale at 4 p.m. on July 2, according to the Sandy Police Department. She was reported missing the following day. Kenley’s car was later found in a parking lot in Sandy.
On July 4th, her body was found in a thick brush and heavily wooded area along the Jordan River.
The following day, Sandy police announced that 75-year-old William O’Reilly was arrested on suspicion of aggravated murder, desecration of a corpse and obstruction of justice.
Police describe O’Reilly as “an acquaintance” of Kenley’s. A friend of Kenley’s told KUTV she and O’Reilly had known each other for seven years after working together at the United States Postal Service.
According to Tracy Collar, she, Kenley and O’Reilly all worked in different departments of the post office. During that time, nothing about O’Reilly seemed out of the ordinary — until O’Reilly retired.
“The weirdness came in after he officially retired from the post office, and he would drive from his house to Masako’s house to deliver fresh eggs,” Collar said.
At first, Kenley thought O’Reilly’s actions were innocent. But Collar recalls Kenley telling her that O’Reilly began following her, tracking her movements and threatening her.
“I was there,” Collar recalled, KUTV reports. “I witnessed the whole thing. Lots of stuff happened and so it was very creepy. And very not normal.”
On the night of her death, Kenley was supposed to meet a friend for dinner but never made it. Police investigators reveal in court documents that they used cell phone data and surveillance video to confirm O’Reilly and Kenley were together, KSL reports.
Cadaver dogs were used to help locate her body.
“Masako’s body was discovered in a ditch in a secluded area of phragmites and tall grasses,” the arrest affidavit states, according to the station. “The body was concealed beneath heavy layers of the grasses and foliage. The Office of the Medical Examiner responded and identified a gunshot wound to Masako’s chest.”
Sandy police located O’Reilly at a local hospital early Monday morning after an alleged attempted suicide. Attorney information for him was not available Wednesday. O’Reilly has not yet entered a plea.
Meanwhile, Kenley’s family is mourning her loss.
“These past few days have been an absolute whirlwind of emotions,” Kenley’s family said in a statement shared on a GoFundMe page. “It is amazing to see so many people that we know, and even many that we do not, supporting our family during such a difficult time in our lives. We wish we could thank each of you, in person, who has donated and expressed their love.”
According to her friends who organized the campaign page, Kinley was a “loving mother, wife and gracious friend to all.”
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