75-year-old man charged with murder of Sandy resident Masako Kenley; police say suspect, victim knew each other

Masako Yamada Kenley. Photo: GoFundMe

SANDY, Utah, July 5, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A male acquaintance of 53-year-old Masako Kenley has been charged with her murder the day after Sandy City Police announced her body had been found near the Jordan River, a few miles from where her vehicle was found in the lot of a Sandy Costco.

Sandy City Police Lt. Dean Carriger told reporters Monday that South Jordan resident William Richard O’Reilly, 75, faces charges of:

  • Aggravated murder, a first-degree felony
  • Obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony
  • Desecration of a corpse, a third-degree felony

An autopsy on the body of Kenley, a married mother of four, is scheduled for later on Monday.

Carriger said Sandy police were alerted to Kenley’s disappearance on Saturday, July 3. They used surveillance recordings to track her movements, he said.

“Through the diligent work of our detectives, they were able to track Miss Kenley to an area of the Jordan River at about 8900 South,” Carriger said, not indicating which day that occurred.

“We conducted a very thorough search of that area with the assistance of Rocky Mountain Rescue dogs, which was vital due to the thick brush and wooded area down there.

“During that time, we were able to locate Masako, deceased in that area.”

Detectives worked through the night processing the scene, Carriger said.

“At this time, we are still waiting for autopsy results, but we have confirmed it’s a homicide.”

Detectives followed leads, and arrested O’Reilly shortly before the news conference, held at noon Monday, Carriger said. He added that the arrest was “something we want to get out so the public can be  a little more at ease,” knowing the killing was not a random abduction.

“We want to thank all the volunteers that assisted in this case,” he added.

Friends, neighbors and coworkers had mounted a major campaign to search for Kenley and get flyers out after she was first known to missing after failing to show up for a dinner planned for Friday at a Layton restaurant.

Carriger declined to speculate on the relationship between O’Reilly and Kenley, saying the investigation is ongoing. He said it is also unclear at this point who left Kenley’s vehicle in the Costco lot.

Gephardt Daily will have more information as it is released.

A GoFundMe account has been established to help pay Kenley’s funeral costs and to fly in some of her relatives from Japan.

Masako Kenley. Photo: Sandy City Police Department

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