PEORIA, AZ - Police say the skeletal remains found last week by hikers in north Peoria were of a woman who went missing nearly two years ago in a homicide case.
Peoria police spokeswoman Amanda Jacinto said the remains were positively identified using dental records as 54-year-old Deborah Lee Delaney.
The Peoria woman disappeared from her home in April 2011.
After a long investigation, police identified her husband, 56-year-old William Raymond Delaney, as the suspect in both her disappearance and probable murder, Jacinto said.
"I've never had a doubt that he murdered her," said Deborah's mother, Patty Smyth. "He's the son of the devil and he's in hell burning good."
William Delaney died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in May 2012 as detectives were finalizing reports in the homicide investigation, Jacinto said.
Circumstances surrounding the body recovery and evidence found in the investigation have led detectives to believe that William Delaney was responsible for the murder and disposal of Deborah Delaney's body, Jacinto said.
Investigators said Deborah was William's fourth wife and now they're looking into the possibility that the death of his third wife, first ruled a suicide, was also murder.
William Delaney was a retired Sun City Fire Department and Montezuma/Rim Rock firefighter and paramedic.