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HomeUSA newsUtah investigators identify suspect in 1972 unsolved murder of Army veteran, rape...

Utah investigators identify suspect in 1972 unsolved murder of Army veteran, rape of woman

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Investigators in Utah have identified a suspect and are looking for a second in the brutal unsolved murder of an Army veteran and the rape of a woman who was with him when he was killed on Thanksgiving weekend in 1972.

Daniel Arthur Bell was identified through DNA testing as one of two men suspected of killing 21-year-old Gregory Dahl Nickell nearly 50 years ago while out on a date at an overlook west of Vernal, the county’s office said. Uintah County Sheriff.

After killing Nickell, Bell and the unidentified man killed Nickell, kidnapped his date and raped her, investigators said.

Bell died in 2019. Investigators believe that releasing his name will help uncover the identity of the second suspect, who is believed to be younger than Bell, the sheriff’s office said.

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Gregory Dahl Nickell, 21, had recently been honorably discharged from the Army when he was assassinated over Thanksgiving weekend in 1972 near Vernal, Utah.
(Uintah County Sheriff’s Office)

“This case remains open and active,” Uintah County Sheriff Steve Labrum said. “Our investigators continue to develop and pursue leads in the search for justice for all who have been affected by this heinous crime.”

Nickell had just returned to Vernal after being honorably discharged from the Army when he took an 18-year-old woman on a date to the scenic overlook. According to authorities, around 1 a.m., a man banged on the window of Nickell’s car. The man said there had been a car accident and asked Nickell for help.

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Nickell agreed and when she turned away from the window, the man shot her at least three times with a .22 caliber handgun, authorities say. The man then reportedly pushed Nickell’s body onto the 18-year-old woman, threatened her and drove them to a remote area, while her accomplice followed in a second car.

When they arrived, the men used gasoline from Nickell’s car to set it on fire with the veteran’s body still inside, authorities say. The men then allegedly kidnapped the woman in the second vehicle, drove 60 miles from her, then each raped her once before abandoning her on the side of the road.

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While the victim was never able to give authorities a good description of the suspects, the woman’s forensic evidence was eventually able to help investigators identify a suspect.

“It’s a tragedy that it took 50 years to identify a suspect,” Labrum said. “I hope that, with the public’s help, we will identify the other suspect much, much sooner.”

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