Search Warrants Reveal New Details in Missing Student Case

By: Jodi Baker Email
By: Jodi Baker Email

Search warrants issued in the case of missing Peru State student Tyler Thomas reveal new details in the investigation. The person of interest in her disappearance, Joshua Keadle, appeared in court Friday morning.


Joshua Keadle

Keadle was in court on a separate charge that did not involve the 19-year-old Tyler Thomas. He is accused of sexually assaulting another woman last October. That case was bound over to district court.

Nemaha County Attorney Louie Ligouri is not pursuing allegations of evidence tampering and providing false information in Thomas's disappearance, while he works to build a bigger case. For that reason, Keadle's $950,000 combined bond was reduced to $750,000.

Thomas, a freshman at Peru State, was last seen in the early hours of December 3rd. As law enforcement investigated her disappearance, officers obtained a number of search warrants.

Among the details they reveal:

An officer reports that tire tracks and measurements at the edge of the Missouri River match the tires on and dimensions of Keadle's SUV.

The marks indicate the SUV was backed up to the edge of the river. The officer reports finding drag marks from that point down the bank to the water's edge.

The warrants also reveal that Keadle at one point is accused of asking an acquaintance to take possession of a gun for him. That man says describedecribed the gun as being "dirty" and a "throw away."

Keadle has admitted being with Thomas on the night when she disappeared. The documents provide details of his statements to investigators.

Keadle says Thomas agreed to engage in sexual activity with him that night if, in return, he would drive her to Omaha. Keadle says that when the activity ended, he told Thomas he had changed his mind and would not take her to Omaha.

He says she got angry and the two got into a physical altercation. Officers noted that Keadle had an injury to one arm.

Keadle says he left Thomas at the boat dock and returned to his dorm on the Peru State campus where he took a shower to remove any evidence.

Investigators interviewed Keadle multiple times. They spoke with him on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th of December. The investigators say he gave conflicting statements.

On December 8th Keadle was arrested for tampering with physical evidence and false reporting in the disappearance of Thomas.

Friday morning Keadle was in court because he is accused of sexually assaulting a different woman on Halloween night. That woman contacted authorities on December 14th.

"She came forward because she had heard about the disappearance of Ty Thomas and wanted to assist in that regard," said Ligouri. "There were similarities, parallels between the two (cases)."

The victim, known as "KJ," claims that Keadle drove her to the same Peru Boat Dock where Keadle claims he left Thomas, and forced her to perform oral sex. The woman says Keadle claimed he had a gun under the front seat of his SUV and if she didn't comply he would dump her body in the Missouri River and no one would know what happened to her.

The woman says on two later occasions in a dorm at Peru State Keadle forced her to have sexual intercourse and that she feared for her life. In court Friday, it was revealed that surveillance cameras captured the pair entering the dorm and leaving approximately two hours later.


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