Man arrested nearly 4 decades after his wife's dismembered body was found


For nearly 40 years, investigators have been baffled by the disturbing death of Diane Small.

Police came across the dismembered remains of a young mother near a bridge in rural Coles County in Illinois on Oct. 9, 1980 -- and they finally made an arrest on Thursday.

They believe Thomas Small, now 70, killed his wife, mutilated her body and disposed the remains near the Air Tight Bridge.

Diane, 26, was missing for four days before officials found her body. Even after that, it took 12 years for her body to be identified because it had been so horrifically maimed.

"Nobody knew who it was because there wasn't any head, feet and hands," Judy Whiteside, a Coles County resident, told

Diane had a 2-year-old daughter at the time of her disappearance, and retired Bradley Chief Steve Coy told the Daily Journal that this arrest will finally give her the peace of mind she's been longing for.

"She has always wanted to know what happened," he said.

Sources close to the case told the newspaper that Thomas admitted to killing his wife. A spokesman for the Bradley Police Department could not be reached for comment.