Man arrested after police say he dumped a woman's body in a Tolleson field

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Kevin Clay, 50 charged with first-degree murder after a woman's body was found in a field. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Kevin Clay, 50 charged with first-degree murder after a woman's body was found in a field. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

A trucker from California was arrested Wednesday on murder charges after a woman was found dead in a field in Tolleson.

According to court documents, Kevin Clay, 50, of Oakland, California was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of abandoning or concealing body parts in connection to the found woman.

Documents state that employees at the Premier Inn hotel in Tolleson called police on Monday, Oct. 16 after finding what appeared to be a body wrapped in blankets in a nearby field.

Officers arrived and determined that there was in fact the body of a woman wrapped in layers of blankets and pillow cases in the field. Police say the victim had obvious signs of trauma. An autopsy later concluded that the victim was strangled, court documents state.

Police viewed surveillance video at the hotel and witnessed a black male suspect exiting a room carrying a large bundle over one of his shoulders.

[RAW VIDEO: Initial court appearance for Kevin Clay]

Documents state that the suspect was seen in the surveillance video walking east toward the field. The suspect was out of the camera's view for a minute and returned without the bundle.

Police were able to identify the suspect as Clay through hotel records. Employees at the hotel told police the suspect worked as a truck driver for Swift Transportation. Swift confirmed Clay's employment with them to police.

Investigators spoke to a witness who is a friend of the victim and said that Clay had approached him and the victim to buy methamphetamine on the night of Oct. 13. The witness said the three purchased the drugs and went to Clay's hotel room at the Premier Inn. 

The witness told police he left the hotel room, leaving the victim alone with Clay. The witness said he returned to the hotel room two hours later and knocked on the door but no one answered. 

The witness said this was the last time he saw the victim. Clay checked out of the hotel room on Oct. 16.

Swift Transportation told investigators that Clay would be returning to Swift headquarters in Arizona on Oct. 18. Police arrested Clay at the headquarters that night. 

Documents state that Clay corroborated most of what the witness had told police. Clay was booked into jail on a first-degree murder charge early Thursday morning.

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