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SANDY — Police in Sandy have arrested a 75-year-old man in connection with the death of Masako Kenley, a Sandy woman who left home Friday to meet friends for dinner but didn't return.
William O'Reilly was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Monday for investigation of aggravated murder, obstructing justice and abuse or desecration of a human body.
"Mr. O'Reilly was an acquaintance of Masako, so we do want to put the community at ease that this was not a random abduction or anything of that nature," said Lt. Dean Carriger with the Sandy Police Department. "There's no danger to the public at this point. These are two individuals that did know each other."
Crews found Masako's body in an area thick with trees and brush along the Jordan River near 8900 S. 700 West, Sandy police said Sunday. They haven't released any information about a potential motive.
On Monday, several in O'Reilly's quiet South Jordan neighborhood said he takes frequent walks but tends to keep to himself and doesn't typically engage with others.
Lisa and Vance Jones said they were puzzled Saturday morning when they saw police cars from another city at O'Reilly's home. Officers spoke with him in the morning for about a half hour and returned later in the day, towing away a white sedan, the couple said.
"It didn't look confrontational," Lisa Jones said. "But we wondered why Sandy was over there."
The couple saw Facebook posts about Kenley after she was reported missing but didn't draw a connection to their own neighborhood.
They estimated he moved there about 12 years ago and lives there with a woman they believe to be his wife, along with other members of her family.
"I didn't know him that well, but I had seen him around," added Annette Tucker-Matkin. "Murder on my street? That's unheard of."
Sandy Police are calling Masako Kenley's death a homicide, and they've arrested an acquaintance of hers, William O'Reilly. pic.twitter.com/rjYMgqGsnB— Paul Nelson (@KSLPaul) July 5, 2021
Kenley was last seen about 4 p.m. Friday near 7134 S. 700 East in Midvale, according to the Sandy Police Department. Her car was later found in a parking lot near 11100 S. Auto Mall Drive in Sandy, police said.
She was considered endangered, police said, though they did not say why.
The investigation into Kenley's disappearance led detectives to search the area along the river where her body was found, police said. Search dogs helped police during the investigation, as the area where Kenley's body was found is heavily wooded and thick with brush, according to police.
Kenley's friends and neighbors, as well as community members, conducted searches for her over the weekend. They said Kenley left her home around 4 p.m. Friday to meet up with friends for dinner in Layton but never made it there.
Kenley's two favorite things to do were to talk and eat, her friend Chiaki Free recalled Monday. The mother of four and postal worker made friends quickly and entertained them for hours just by chatting and telling stories, Free recalled.
"Everybody falls in love with her, she's so nice," Free told KSL.com.
We are overwhelmed at the number of people who have helped us during this difficult time. Your prayers and support have meant the world to my family and me. Losing Masako is devastating, but we feel blessed to have had her in our lives for as long as we did.
–Bill Kenley, Makako's husband
In a statement, Kenley's husband Bill Kenley thanked the volunteers and law enforcement personnel who helped search for Masako.
"We are overwhelmed at the number of people who have helped us during this difficult time. Your prayers and support have meant the world to my family and me," Bill Kenley said in a statement provided to KSL TV. "Losing Masako is devastating, but we feel blessed to have had her in our lives for as long as we did. We will never forget your kindness, generosity, and love."
A GoFundMe page* has been set up to assist the Kenley family with funeral expenses.
Contributing: Paul Nelson, KSL NewsRadio, Garna Mejia and Tania Dean, KSL TV
*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.