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Joshua Keadle murder trial begins

Day 1 of the Joshua Keadle murder trial
Posted at 6:17 PM, Jan 28, 2020

BEATRICE, Neb. (KMTV) — The disappearance of 19-year-old Ty Thomas gripped the metro area for years. Now, Joshua Keadle is on trial for her murder.

Currently serving a 15-year sentence for sexual assault, 38-year-old Joshua Keadle is charged with murdering Ty Thomas of Omaha.

Prosecutors said Thomas was upset, intoxicated, and wandering near the Peru State Campus when Keadle allegedly picked her up, told her he’d take her to Omaha if she performed a sex act, and then refused to give her a ride. Prosecutors said the motive was clear.

“Her reaction was that she got mad and said, ‘I’m reporting you for rape,’” said Doug Warner of the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office. “We don’t see her again.”

Prosecutors add he murdered her and dumped her in the Missouri River. Phone records apparently put them both at the scene and Keadle lied to police multiple times.

However, the defense said there’s no physical evidence that puts Thomas in Keadle’s car and he left her at the river alive.

“There is no way to determine with scientific or medical certainty how she died, if she died, if she’s dead,” said defense attorney Jeff Pickens.

Thomas’ family members took the stand--her grandmother says she talked to Ty at least every other day, but never heard from her after December 3, 2010.

She even talked to Keadle when she went to Peru to help find her granddaughter.

“I had asked him again if she appeared to be intoxicated or was she wobbling and he said ‘no ma’am, I didn’t pay that any attention,’” said grandmother Eva Thomas.

Thomas’ mother said she remembers how Ty always made holidays special and personal.

"I would always get a card," said Latanya Thomas. "She would always give me something very personal."

A Nebraska State Patrol investigator told the jury that Thomas was calling and texting people at 1:25 December 3rd but at 2:15, her phone went straight to voicemail and never made another call.

The trial continues Wednesday in Beatrice.

Follow Jake's updates from the courtroom here.

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