The boyfriend of a Utah woman whose remains were found behind her home nearly three decades after she vanished has been arrested and charged in her murder, officials said.
Michael Ignatius Kufrin, 61, had long been suspected in the disappearance of 28-year-old Peggy Sue Case, his live-in girlfriend who disappeared after the pair was seen fighting at a party in July 1988.
Case’s co-workers reported her disappearance six days later to the Spanish Fork Police Department, noting that Kufrin called after the party to say she wouldn’t be in for work.
He called again the following day, claiming she had gone out of town to buy a car, they told cops.
Kufrin allegedly told authorities that Case contacted him several times after she was reported missing, but that he didn’t know where she was.
He later stopped cooperating with police.
Questions about Case’s whereabouts were finally answered 29 years later, when on May 22, 2017, a human skull was found buried in the backyard storage cellar behind what was once her home.
A resident was taking items out of a cement basement when he noticed an area of the dirt floor sinking, police said.
Having heard before that a previous tenant disappeared while living there, the man and a friend dug down into the ground for about 10 minutes before making the gruesome discovery.
Wrapped in a blanket and plastic mesh was what appeared to be a human skull, cops said.
The man called police, who sent the remains to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office where they were determined to be those of Peggy Sue Case.
Investigators had dug through the soil in the cellar the year Case went missing, but didn’t find anything, police said.
Investigators used evidence from the original probe into Case’s disappearance combined with their new findings to draft an affidavit in support of Kufrin’s arrest.
He was arrested July 17 in Forest Park, Ill., where he remained in custody until his extradition to Utah on Monday.
Kufrin was charged with murder and remains in Utah County Jail on $250,000 cash-only bail.