Missing Air Force veteran, 80, found dismembered, killer scattered body parts all over his Phoenix house
Two suspects who were living on and off with Kenneth Peterson are in police custody
PHOENIX, ARIZONA: A man and a woman have been arrested in connection to the tragic death of an 80-year-old Air Force veteran whose body was found dismembered in his Phoenix home during a welfare check, police revealed.
Phoenix police said the suspect, identified as Thomas Wallace, 58, is being held on $1 million cash bond, and has been charged with second-degree murder, concealing a dead body, theft of means of transportation, and trafficking in stolen property. The second suspect, Ramona Gonzalez, also remains jailed but has only been charged with fraud and theft, according to FOX 10. The body of the victim was discovered on November 1 after investigators forced their way into the home near 30th and Campbell avenues, north of Indian School. Neighbors identified the victim as 80-year-old Kenneth Peterson.
Police were made aware of Peterson’s disappearance about a month ago when his family contacted them after they failed to reach him. The officers checked the residence but found nothing amiss. Another two weeks went by, and the man remained missing. The police then forced their way into his house with the help of firefighters. The officers said as they went in, they were met with "a strong foul odor." The investigators searched the home and found two bulky black trash bags, which contained the chopped body parts of Peterson, court documents read. Police also discovered several other body parts in a pile of blankets that were stacked in the laundry basket.
Homicide investigators arrived the next day and found blood splatter on the living room ceiling, on several walls and furniture. The investigators said it appeared someone cleaned the room after executing the murder. The officers immediately launched an investigation into the matter and found out that Peterson’s truck was also missing from the scene. They tracked the vehicle on November 3 at a motel just down the street from Peterson’s home. At the motel, they also found Wallace and Gonzalez. According to court records, the pair lived off and on with the victim, but Gonzalez told detectives that they hadn’t stayed there recently because of Wallace’s behavior.
Investigators learned Wallace had pawned items that he picked from Peterson’s residence on October 26. The items he pawned included a chainsaw, a hedger, and a bag containing a camera. Police say "an odor of decomposition" was coming from the items. They also found "torn flesh, ligaments, and biological matter" in the chainsaw, the court documents reveal.
Peterson’s family revealed that he became friends with Gonzalez in 2020 and she soon moved in with him. She even asked her friend Wallace to move in with them. During the interrogation, Gonzalez admitted to breaking into Peterson’s home on September 30 and finding his dead body in the house.
People living in the neighborhood were left stunned after hearing about Peterson’s tragic death. Ruby Lowry, who lived with Peterson on the same street since 1970, remembered him as “a good neighbor who would help anybody.” “It’s a sad thing to happen to him, he didn’t deserve that." Ruby told KTVK/KPHO “I hope they get what they deserve because he would help anybody. That’s probably why he had them over there.”