COLORADO SPRINGS — A Colorado man suspected in 2 separate cold cases, including the murder of a woman and the sexual assault of another in the same apartment complex, was taken in to custody in Colorado Springs.

According to a press release from the Mesa Police Department in Arizona, 58-year-old Thomas Cox was arrested in Colorado Springs and extradited to Arizona to face charges for the 1989 killing of 22-year-old Susan Amy Morse.

Morse’s body was found on October 16, 1989 in her Mesa, Arizona apartment after police were sent on a welfare check. Investigators later determined she had been sexually assaulted and died of asphyxiation. On November 13th of 1990, Cox allegedly broke into the same apartment complex and sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman, who survived the attack.

DNA evidence collected from both scenes matched, but an identification was never made. In a follow-up investigation, a family line was developed using advanced DNA technologies and Cox was identified. He was not previously identified as a lead in either case, but the discovery was significant because Cox’s mother lived next to Morse. 

After the identification, Cox was found to be living in Colorado and working at Rudy’s Barbecue, according to court documents from Maricopa County. With the assistance of the FBI in Colorado, Cox’s DNA was obtained and analyzed by the Mesa Police Crime Lab, confirming the match to both crime scene DNA profiles and providing probable cause for the arrest.

It is unclear why and for how long Cox was in Arizona at the time of the alleged attacks. El Paso County court documents show he has faced multiple charges locally dating back to the 1990s and further back, including menacing and assault, as well as an arrest for driving under the influence and driving without registration in the early 1980s.

Cox is being held on $1 million bail and faces 16 criminal counts, including first-degree murder, sexual assault, burglary and kidnapping.