New information revealed in Sandy woman’s homicide; 53-year-old Masako Kenley was shot, stabbed

Masako Yamada Kenley. Photo: GoFundMe

SANDY, Utah, July 12, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Newly released court documents reveal Masako Yamada Kenley died on July 2 after being shot twice and stabbed multiple times, and that formal murder charges have been filed against her accused killer, former coworker William Richard O’Reilly.

In the death of 53-year-old Kenley, O’Reilly, 75, faces charges of:

  • Murder, a first-degree felony
  • Felony discharge of a firearm, a first-degree felony
  • Obstructing justice, a second-degree felony

A probable cause statement filed Monday shares new details of the case. It confirms that Masako was reported missing by husband William Kenley after she failed to meet  coworkers for a planned restaurant dinner on July 2, then did not return home. Calls to her cellphone went to voicemail, the statement says.

Sandy City Police detectives learned that Masako Kenley and former coworker William O’Reilly met that afternoon, and Kenley’s location was documented through phone call detail records (CDR). Both Kenley and O’Reilly were recorded in the area on business’s video surveillance.

O’Reilly and Kenley were seen leaving a Midvale business in Masako’s van at 4:05 p.m., with O’Reilly driving and Masako as the passenger, the Sandy City Police statement says. CDR placed Masako’s phone in the area of 8900 South and 1000 West, in a heavily wooded area.

Local business surveillance confirmed Masako’s white van pulling into that area at 4:35 p.m. and leaving at 4:55 p.m., the statement says. The van was seen on video returning to the Midvale business at 5:02 p.m., driven by O’Reilly and without Masako present.

Three days later, “Utah State cadaver dogs located the body of Masako in a ditch in the heavily wooded area near 8900 South and 1000 West, described above,” the statement says.

The autopsy

“An autopsy was performed by Dr. Lily Marsden of the Utah Office of the Medical
Examiner. Dr. Marsden stated that Masako Kenley suffered two gunshot wounds, one in the neck and one in the chest. Both gunshot wounds caused serious bodily injury. The bullet from the gunshot to the chest struck the heart.

“Additionally, Dr. Marsden stated that there were four stab wounds to the neck. Two of the wounds were deep, and one struck the carotid artery.”

According to Marsden, “either the gunshot wound to the heart, the stab wound to the carotid artery, or a combination of the two caused Masako’s death. According to Dr. Marsden the cause of death of Masako Kenley was certified as multiple gunshot wounds and sharp force injuries and the Manner of Death was homicide.”

Investigators noted in the affidavit that “Defendant claims he is a military veteran, and the way in which Masako was killed appears consistent with someone having military experience.”

The statement says O’Reilly’s brother-in-law was asked by the suspect to “to clear a jam and clean it for him. O’Reilly told (his in-law) that he had shot the gun and it jammed.”

The brother-in-law gave detectives the handgun, the statement says.

“Detective Anson stated that the Glock is a 9mm and it was loaded with rounds of 9mm full-metal-jacket ammunition, including a round in the chamber.”

O’Reilly’s statement

A statement by O’Reilly said he had admitted to being with Masako Kenley on the afternoon of July 2.

“O’Reilly said he and Masako were supposed to go to dinner that night, but they ended up not going to dinner. O’Reilly stated that he had previously placed a GPS tracking device on Masako’s van. O’Reilly said that on July 2, 2021 Masako got upset with O’Reilly told him ‘they were done and to take the GPS tracker off her vehicle.’

“O’Reilly told detectives he removed the GPS tracking device from Masako’s van some time on July 2, ‘after they had gotten into an argument.'”

“O’Reilly told officers that he removed the tracker from the van while it was in the Costco parking lot and advised them where the van was located.”

O’Reilly had concealed the GPS tracking device in his personal vehicle, he said.

“O’Reilly admitted to investigators he took Masako’s purse and one sandal from her van and put them in the trunk of his vehicle. O’Reilly said the last time he saw Masako’s phone it was in her van, and he turned it off while the van was at Costco.”

Detective Anson informed O’Reilly investigators had pinged Masako’s phone in the Jordan River “river bottoms” area, not in her van, the probable cause statement says.

“O’Reilly first said he believed they were in that area together. Detective Anson asked
O’Reilly what they were doing in the river bottoms. O’Reilly then said they were not in  the river bottoms.”

The detective then told O’Reilly he had obtained the Glock 9mm handgun from O’Reilly’s brother-in-law, and repeated what that witness had told him.

“O’Reilly claimed he fired the Glock into an irrigation ditch behind his home on July 2, 2021. O’Reilly said he wanted (the brother-in-law and that man’s son) to check the gun for defects and that (the son) was a gunsmith and active with the military and he could fix it for O’Reilly.”

Detective Anson then told O’Reilly “that Masako’s body had been recovered in the river bottoms,” the police statement says.

“Detective Anson asked O’Reilly about turning his phone off and on. O’Reilly stated he didn’t know why he did that. Detective Anson asked O’Reilly what happened down in the river bottoms in the area of 9000 South and 700 West. O’Reilly stated that he could not remember what happened.”

Search warrants were issued for O’Reilly’s residence and vehicle, and officers recovered O’Reilly’s “boots, pants and his jacket (the boots and pants and possibly the jacket appeared to have blood on them); a box of 9mm full-metal-jacket ammunition with 27 rounds and a loaded 9mm Glock magazine; a utility knife tool that detectives were told O’Reilly is known to carry; and a GPS tracking device.”

Also recovered were Kenley’s purse, identification, and one of her sandals from the trunk of O’Reilly’s vehicle, the statement says. GPS tracking devices were also recovered O’Reilly’s trunk.

The report says O’Reilly overdosed on sleeping pills after talking with detectives, and told officers “it was a suicide attempt because he had embarrassed his family by having police vehicles parked in front of his home, and the neighbors could see that.”

A judge granted the officer’s request that O’Reilly be held without bail due to the violence of the gun and knife attacks with which the suspect is charged, the care with which Kenley’s body was concealed in a secluded area, the seriousness of the charges, and the likelihood that the suspect poses a flight risk.

Gephardt Daily will have more news on this story as it develops.

Click here to read about a friend and Post Office supervisor who remembers Kenley for her warm smiles and caring nature.

Masako Kenley. Photo: Sandy City Police Department

1 COMMENT

  1. Excellent reporting on this horrific case, the best I’ve seen so far. Please keep us posted as more details emerge.

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