Thomas Davis Cox, 58, was arrested on April 23, 2022 for the October 16, 1989 rape and murder of 22-year-old Susan Morse in Mesa, Arizona. Morse had been sexually assaulted in her bed by an intruder, and then strangled with an extension cord. She was discovered during a welfare check that her parents had phoned in when she failed to show up for work the next day.
Cox was also charged with a similar home invasion rape in the same apartment complex against a 23-year-old victim on November 13, 1990. An intruder had broken into her apartment through a window, and threatened her with a knife.
Investigators collected DNA evidence as well as fingerprints that tied the two cases together, but no hits to a suspect were found in CODIS.
There is currently no information on he biological source of the crime scene samples or who performed the FGG investigation, although the FBI Phoenix Field Office is reported to have assisted the Mesa PD with the investigation.
Cox, who was extradited from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is now facing charges of first-degree murder as well as sexual assault, burglary and kidnapping in Maricopa County Superior Court.
It was reported that Cox was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offence in Colorado. His fingerprints were taken for this offence and were used to help confirm the DNA match. He had no more serious criminal record that would have resulted in his DNA being collected.
Baker, David. “Man Arrested in Mesa Cold Cases that Happened 30+ Years Ago.” AZ Family News, April 26, 2022, last modified April 27, 2022. Accessed May 8, 2022. https://www.azfamily.com/2022/04/27/man-arrested-mesa-cold-cases-that-happened-30-years-ago/.
Kalmbacker, Colin. “Colorado Man Arrested Over 1989 Cold Case Murder and 1990 Sexual Assault Which Happened at the Same Arizona Apartment Complex.” Law & Crime, April 27, 2022. https://lawandcrime.com/crime/colorado-man-arrested-over-1989-cold-case-murder-and-1990-sexual-assault-which-happened-at-the-same-arizona-apartment-complex/.
Loose, Ashley. “Arrest Made in 1989 Homicide of Young Mesa Woman, Susan Morse.” ABC News 15 Arizona, April 26, 2022, last modified May 4, 2022. Accessed May 8, 2022. https://www.abc15.com/news/region-southeast-valley/mesa/arrest-made-in-1989-homicide-of-young-mesa-woman-susan-morse.
Sederstrom, Jill. “Man Arrested in 1989 Murder of 22-Year-Old and Cold Case Sexual Assault of Another Woman at the Same Apartment Complex.” Oxygen, April 28, 2022. Accessed May 8, 2022. https://www.oxygen.com/crime-news/thomas-cox-accused-raping-killing-susan-amy-morse-1989.