Police arrest man in 1982 murder case

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- California authorities have made a homicide arrest more than 27 years after body parts of the victim were found in the Colorado River in northwest Arizona.

Jimmy Joe Cox, 71, of Needles was arrested Wednesday in connection with the slaying of his former roommate-girlfriend Carole Spearman.

An investigation began when a citizen found a human hand in the river near the Topock Bridge on Christmas Eve 1982. San Bernardino County Sheriff's office spokeswoman Jodi Miller said Cox contacted law enforcement authorities eight days after the discovery, inquiring about the hand while stating he hadn't seen Spearman, 24, for more than a week.

It was determined in early January 1983 that it was Spearman's hand and her head was located in the river near the Topock Marina on Jan. 23, 1983, Miller said.

Cox was always considered a "person of interest," but the case went cold because investigators lacked evidence of the homicide, according to the sheriff's spokeswoman.

The case was reopened last September with California and Arizona authorities working together. Additional interviews were conducted and a comprehensive case analysis led to Cox's arrest, she said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office (909-387-3598) or the We-Tip Hotline (1-800-782-7463).