Murder Charges Finally Brought Against Man Who Was Last Seen With Missing 19-Year-Old College Student

(Photo from left: Handout/Omaha Police Department)

Murder Charges Finally Brought Against Man Who Was Last Seen With Missing 19-Year-Old College Student

Joshua W. Keadle was charged while serving a prison sentence for sexual assault.

Published October 18, 2017

The family attorney of a college freshman who was last seen in December 2010 is extremely pleased murder charges were brought against the man who last saw her alive. 

Tyler “Ty” Thomas was a student at Peru State College in Nebraska when she went missing. Despite the fact that her body was never found, Joshua W. Keadle, 36, was charged with first-degree murder, reported 3 News Now. A death certificate for Thomas was issued in 2013.

According to court records, Keadle, then 29, first denied seeing Thomas and asked his roommate to lie on his behalf. However, days later, Keadle told investigators he gave Thomas a ride to a boat launch in Omaha.  

Keadle said he asked for a sex act in exchange for driving Thomas to Omaha; however, he said he changed his mind and became angry. He told investigators he left her at the boat launch and drove back to campus.

Authorities compared Keadle’s story to a report filed earlier in the year that involved an 18-year-old student who claimed he took her to the same location and threatened to push her in the Missouri River if she didn't have sex with him, reported the Daily Mail.

Then in 2012, Keadle was sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison on charges of first-degree sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in 2008.

Vince Powers, an attorney who represented the Thomas family in the 2013 wrongful death lawsuit against Keadle, said this has been a hard time for the family, and they are happy some progress is being made.

Powers said Keadle would be eligible for parole in about a year.

“Unlike other cases, the suspect wasn’t going anywhere. But he had a parole hearing in a year and, given the state of our prisons with overcrowding, they’re letting people out, and once he was out, he was going to be gone,” Powers told 3 News Now.

Powers said even if the AG’s office didn’t take the case, he would have launched a petition drive to impanel a grand jury to hear evidence in the killing because he promised Thomas’ family justice would be served.

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo from left: Handout/Omaha Police Department)


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