SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It’s been 267 days and the McFalls family is still awaiting word on who was found in a shallow grave last fall.
They do know one of the bodies is that of their mother, Susan McFalls. It’s widely assumed the second person is her husband, Jerry McFalls.
Both disappeared in January 2018. It wasn’t until last October that the family learned of the shallow grave containing two bodies.
“We can’t have proper burial,” said Meridee McFalls. “We can’t do anything with their estate. We’re stuck right now.”
Meridee McFalls is their daughter-in-law. She said they never heard from the couple in January and about 10 days later requested a welfare check be done at the couple’s Littlefield, Arizona home.
Deputies with the Mojave County Sheriff’s Office found the home abandoned but found odd things. The front door was open, their dogs were still inside and other personal property was also located.
“Just the way the house was left, we knew something bad had happened to them,” said McFalls.
The two decayed bodies were found buried in a shallow grave near Interstate-fifteen by the Utah-Arizona border.
Susan Mcfalls was identified by the medical examiner who was able to compare medical records with a medical device located on her body. The second body was not officially identified.
“It’s been extremely hard,” said McFalls. “I too lost my mother and to lose a parent is a terrible thing. But this is a whole new level of unknowing, (it) is probably the hardest.”
DNA was sent to a laboratory at the University of Texas but it’s been 267 days and still no word.
“They will not give us a time frame as to when we can expect those results,” said Lt. Jason Elsbury with the Mojave County Sheriff’s Office. “Just basically assuming their backlog is enormous.”
But in the case of Elizabeth Shelly who disappeared in Logan, rapid DNA tests were used to help solve the crime within days.
Authorities in Arizona won’t use it because they claim rapid DNA testing has been challenged in court.
“They do have some issues as to whether or not it is an accredited lab or if it’s able to be used in court.,” said Lt. Elsbury.
He understands the family wants an identity but he said it’s still a murder investigation and all evidence could one day end up in court.
“We understand it takes time to solve a crime but we also want to move forward and celebrating their life like they deserve to be,” said McFalls.
Lt. Elsbury said they are also frustrated that the investigation has taken so long.
“We’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort into this investigation,” he said. “Nothing would make us happier than to get a positive resolution, a prosecution because as far as we’re concerned someone has committed a murder and they still have not been brought to justice.”
A warrant was used to search the home of the McFalls neighbor in Littlefield, but Lt. Elsbury said he and several others remain persons of interest and no one been ruled out.
Anyone with information about the case can contact the sheriff’s office at 1-800-522-4312.