Kankakee man pleads not guilty in murder and dismemberment cold case

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Thomas A. Small

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man accused of killing his wife and scattering her dismembered body in two rivers nearly 40 years ago has pleaded not guilty in the cold case.

A Kankakee County Grand Jury charged 70-year-old Thomas A. Small last week with two counts of murder and one count of concealing a homicide, the Daily Journal reported.

Small is accused of bludgeoning his 26-year-old wife, Diane Marie Riordan Small, inside their home in Bradley on Oct. 15, 1980. Court documents say Small hid his wife’s body in an attic for about two days before taking it to Coles County, dismembering it and tossing it into the Embarras and Vermillion rivers.

Small told investigators the couple was arguing when she packed her belongings and left. He filed an information report with the police, saying she had a tendency to leave for several days but would return home eventually.

Her torso was discovered four days after her alleged slaying, but the rest of her body was never recovered. Her remains went unidentified until 1992, when her sister filed a missing person report with Bradley police. It’s unclear why she waited so long.

Prosecutors haven’t given a motive for the crime or said how Small finally was implicated.

Small is being held on $2 million bond. His arraignment is scheduled for April 28.

Small’s public defender didn’t immediately return The Associated Press’ call seeking comment.