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Nebraska man charged in 1982 cold case homicide in Utah

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Bryan Reed

Dakota County Jail

SALT LAKE CITY — A Nebraska man was formally charged Friday in connection with a cold case homicide in Salt Lake City from nearly four decades ago.

Bryan Reed, 55, of Sioux City, Nebraska, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with criminal homicide, murder in the second degree, a first-degree felony; and aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony. The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office said charges were filed based on how the Utah Code book was written in 1982. A charge of murder in the second degree is today’s equivalent of felony murder, according to the D.A.’s office.

On Aug. 18, 1982, Reed, who was 17 at the time, allegedly entered 72-year-old Wilhelmina Reid’s home, 959 W. California Ave. (1300 South), through a bathroom window, hit Reid multiple times with a baseball bat, then went back to his house where he washed his clothes and went to bed, according to charging documents.

Reed lived with his stepmother at the time, across the street from the elderly woman's house, the charges state.

Reid’s body was found face down on her bed during a welfare check.

According to Reed’s stepmother, Bryan Reed left Utah to attend school in Nebraska the same day his neighbor was killed, according to charging documents.

Salt Lake police collected several pieces of evidence from the crime scene in 1982, including DNA from the victim’s nightgown, footprints and fingerprints, the charges state.

In 2019, DNA taken from the nightgown was tested against swabs taken from Reed and showed Reed was a “possible contributor,” according to charging documents.

Court documents do not say what prompted police to compare DNA samples with Reed in 2019. The charges also do not disclose a possible motive for the crime.

Salt Lake police first interviewed Reed in Sioux City nearly a year ago, on Dec. 18, 2018, according to a statement from the Sioux City, Nebraska, Police Department.

As of Friday, Reed remained in the Dakota County Jail in Nebraska awaiting extradition to Utah, where bail was set at $1 million.