The husband of a Bradley woman who went missing in 1980 is being charged with her murder, according to police.

Thomas A. Small, 70, was arrested by Bradley police for killing Diane Marie Riordan Small and then dismembering her body and disposing of the remains in Coles County. She was 26 when she disappeared in October 1980.

The couple had a daughter, Vanessa, who was 2 years old at the time.

"This is great news, especially for her daughter," said retired Bradley Chief Steve Coy, who was a detective in 1992 and worked the case. "She has always wanted to know what happened."

Coles County sheriff's police contacted Bradley police on Wednesday wanting to interview Small — who is not related to the Small family that owns the Daily Journal.

Sources close to the case said Small confessed to killing his wife.

Kankakee State's Attorney Jim Rowe said the murder occurred in Bradley. He said Small will be in bond court on Saturday. Rowe's office will be asking the judge for no bond to be set.

"Formal charges will come Monday or Tuesday," Rowe said. "We ask for no bond to be set in all murder cases."

Diane Small's remains were found in the Embarras River in Coles County on Oct. 19, 1980, four days after she had left her Bradley home in the 400 block of North Michigan Avenue.

According to Coy, Thomas Small called police and filed information Diane had left Oct. 15 and not returned. Small said she had a history of leaving for days and then coming back.

Her body went unidentified until 1992 after a missing person's report was filed by her sister, Virginia Williams, with the Bradley police. That information then went in the national missing persons database, and Diane Small's identify was confirmed through DNA testing by Illinois State Police.

"Her sister came in and said my sister has been missing for 12 years," Coy said.

Coles County sheriff investigators contacted Bradley police after the description matched the unidentified body.

Editor's note: Thomas A. Small, the man mentioned in this story, is not Thomas P. Small, the executive vice president of Small Newspaper Group and the Daily Journal.

Tags