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Arrest made in 1989 homicide of young Mesa woman, Susan Morse

Thomas David Cox was linked to her murder, another attack
Thomas David Cox
Susan Morse
Posted at 11:49 AM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 13:15:01-04

MESA, AZ — Police say they have made an arrest more than three decades after the murder of a young woman in Mesa.

Susan Amy Morse was found dead in her apartment near Country Club Drive and Southern Avenue around 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 16, 1989.

Susan Morse

Police say the 22-year-old woman lived alone and there were no signs of forced entry.

A year later, a woman reported that she was sexually assaulted in her home in the same area as the homicide.

Evidence from both scenes was determined to be connected, but no suspects were identified until recently.

Maricopa County Attorney documents state that 58-year-old Thomas Davis Cox was indicted in March 2022 following the 1989 killing and another incident in 1990.

Thomas David Cox.jpg

Cox was linked to an attack on an unnamed victim around Nov. 13, 1990, documents show.

The court documents say Cox was indicted on a total of 16 counts in the two cases, including first-degree murder, sexual assault, burglary, and kidnapping.

He was recently located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he had reportedly been living, according to police documents. On April 23, Cox was extradited to Maricopa County from El Paso County.

Cox is being held on a $1 million cash bond.

On May 4, the Mesa Police Department released a statement from a woman who survived his attack. She wishes to remain anonymous.

I never thought that this day would come, I thought my case was stored somewhere in a dark basement. I am very thankful for Det. Samuel and the Mesa Police Department for never giving up on these cases. To the family of Susan Morse, you have my deepest sympathy. I didn't know Susan but my fight became her fight, my pain became her pain and my tears were her tears. Never give up on yourself even through all the darkness. My life changed that night but I know that my 9 month old son and I were meant to be here for a purpose and that God protected us.

Thomas Cox took alot from me that night and throughout the years but I learned how to stop letting him continuously take. I learned how to stop the pain by not giving in and giving it away to him any longer. I learned how to stop being a victim and start being a survivor.

“Surviving Victim”

The FBI released the following statement on this arrest:

"This case exemplifies that the passage of time does not deter law enforcement's persistence for truth and justice. The FBI's Phoenix Field Office values our exceptional partnerships with local law enforcement, and we are grateful for the leadership of the Mesa Police Department in these cases. The results of this cooperative effort will provide the victims and their families the long-awaited justice they deserve. We are always available, ready and willing to assist our local law enforcement partners and bring to bear FBI resources to get bad actors off the streets - no matter how long it takes."