SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – The murder and disappearance of Sandra Matott has mystified authorities since 1979.
But now, the case is considered closed after she was identified as the Millard County Jane Doe who was found in 1979.
Salt Lake City police along with the Millard County Sheriff’s office both agreed there were two possible suspects and each is dead.
One of those considered for many years was Texas serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.
“According to Lucas, they picked her up down around San Bernadino California,” said former Millard County Sheriff Ed Phillips. “She was described by Lucas as more of a homeless type.”
Lucas had a criminal history that included murdering his own mother, kidnapping girls, and possession of firearms. Following his 1983 arrest, he confessed to murdering several women across the country, including two in Utah. In 2001, he died in prison.
Following information from Texas Rangers, Phillips and future sheriff Robert Decker went to Texas in 1984 to meet with Lucas.
Lucas told his story to the two men in a jail north of Austin.
“They drive at least as far as the Cove Fort area and wind up killing her,” Phillips recalled. “There’s always been a question as to how much information that he may have been fed. But he told a pretty good story.”
Phillips said he left Texas with some doubts about Lucas and his ties to Jane Doe.
The serial killer even confessed to the 1978 murder of Marla Sharp in Provo.
In 2019, the Utah Cold Case Coalition began investigating Lucas and his claims.
“One of them was the Jane Doe in Millard County and we had pretty much ruled out that Henry Lee Lucas could have killed that individual.”
And the coalition also did extensive research on the Sharp case and convinced Provo police didn’t murder her.
Lucas was a pathological liar. Provo police recently re-opened the case involving Marla Sharp.
After Matott was identified by authorities last week as being the Jane Doe of Millard County, they closed the case.
“Henry Lee Lucas and her husband are the two possible suspects,” said Michael Ruff with Salt Lake police. “Both have long been deceased. At this point there’s nothing to follow up on.”
Warren Matott died in 1999. Police said he first reported her missing and then disappeared.
But her family is convinced Warren Matoot killed his Sandra.
“That person is dead and would never confess to doing it but we know,” said Sandra’s sister Colleen Hawkins. “We know who it was by the lies that he told when we finally figured out he was telling lies.”
In 1999, her older brother was at Warren Matott’s death bed. He was hoping to get a bedside confession but he never did. Matott was deadly ill. They would wait another 22-years before learning Millard County’s Jane Doe was their mother.