Rape trial linked to missing Peru State student

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January 19th, 2011

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Peru State College student Tyler Thomas, 19, has been missing since Dec. 3, 2010

Lincoln, NE – A hearing on a sexual assault case in Nemaha County brought to court the central “person of interest” in the disappearance of a 19-year-old Peru State College student.

Peru State student Tyler Thomas disappeared early in December.  The last person known to be in her company was Joshua Keadle.  He has already been charged with lying to police in their investigation but, to date, Thomas is still missing and police have only speculated that she was murdered.

Wednesday morning, Keadle, in an orange jail jump suit, appeared in District Court on another set of charges in another case.  A second woman, identified only by her initials in court documents, claimed she was raped by Keadle.

Judge Daniel Bryan read each of the five felony counts, as Keadle listened, acknowledging with one word answers that he understood the charges and penalties.  Through his defense attorney, he said he was not guilty.

The next step in Thomas’ investigation hinges on crime lab tests.  Nemaha County’s prosecutor, Louie Ligouri declined to offer specifics.  Speaking with reporters, he confirmed that the investigation into this rape and the Thomas disappearance did overlap.

Asked whether this cased had been helpful in the Tyler Thomas case, Ligouri acknowledged it had. “I don’t want to elaborate anymore than that.  I do not want to comment on any specific evidence.” Keadle’s attorney declined to talk with reporters following the hearing.  The trial on these rape charges are scheduled for April.

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