Suspect arrested in Utah motel corpse case

AP News
|
Posted: Jun 03, 2011 4:50 PM
Suspect arrested in Utah motel corpse case

A Utah man arrested early Friday in the killing of a woman whose body was found stuffed in the wooden frame of a bed at a Salt Lake City motel admitted to "actively causing her death," a probable cause statement said,

State and local police captured Thomas Joseph Kumalac as he traveled aboard a bus bound for Wendover, Nev., the statement said.

The 28-year-old is accused of killing Jessica Irene Jensen of Layton, Utah, whose body was discovered Thursday after a guest who checked into a room at the Capitol Hotel on the south side of Salt Lake City complained of a foul stench, the statement said. Jensen's body was found wrapped in a towel and stashed under the box springs and mattress in the wooden bed frame.

Medical examiners estimated Jensen had been dead four or five days when her body was found, Salt Lake City police detective Lisa Pascadlo said.

Kumalac used his New Jersey identification card to rent the room on May 27 and stayed at the hotel until May 31, which is when Jensen apparently died, the probable cause statement said.

Utah state court records showed Jensen would have turned 26 on Monday.

Kumalac was booked into Salt Lake County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder, witness tampering and obstruction of justice, the statement said. A motive for the killing, or even the way in which Jensen was killed, remained a mystery, Pascadlo said.

Authorities also don't know the nature of Kumalac's and Jensen's relationship. But the probable cause statement said Jensen's stepmother told police she met Kumalac a couple of times when he visited Jensen with his girlfriend.

An attorney was not listed for Kumalac, who remained in jail Friday afternoon.

"Words cannot express how we feel at the loss of our `baby girl,'" Jensen's father, Michael Jensen, said in a statement. "She is sorely missed by us all."