Hikers Find Peoria Woman's Remains; Husband Killed Himself Before Being Charged
Peoria police say skeletal remains found earlier this month in a desert area were identified as Deborah Delaney, a 54-year-old Peoria resident who hadn't been seen since April 2011.
Her husband, a retired Sun City firefighter, was about to be charged with her murder last year even though Delaney's body hadn't been found, but committed suicide before it all came down.
"On May 9, 2012 just as detectives were in the process of finalizing reports they learned William Delaney had taken his own life inside his vehicle at the Mormon Lake Overlook outside of Flagstaff," a Peoria PD press release says. "Delaney suffered a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Even with their only suspect deceased, detectives continued to analyze evidence and search for Deborah's body."
Her body wasn't found until February 6 of this year, as hikers found her remains south of State Route 74 in northern Peoria.
For a little insight into the case, detectives have released a pair of letters that make it very apparent that there was trouble between the two.
One letter, a handwritten one dated in 2007, was addressed to no one in specific, but rather gave information "in case of [her] sudden death."
One reason, she said, was that she told her husband she was going to tell the Social Security Administration that he was forging his mother's signature on her Social Security checks, and depositing them in his own account.
The other reason was that she didn't feel comfortable with her husband's sexual urges. To spare you all of the details, we'll just say that the list of activities starts with "bondage," and ends with "having me fuck him in the ass."
Delaney didn't say why she thought her husband would kill her over these things, but that's what she laid out in the letter.
The other letter was typed, and "signed" from Delaney to her husband.
UPDATE 2:29 p.m.: Indeed, Peoria police Leiutenant Steve Hadley tells New Times that detectives suspect William Delaney wrote this letter, although they're not 100 percent certain.
It's an extremely rude letter that says Deborah's leaving him, but that was her husband's cover when police started asking questions -- he said he didn't report her missing because he thought she had left her.
We may never know exactly what happened, but a police spokeswoman says the discovery of Delaney's body just reinforces detectives' belief that her husband murdered her.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.