Nebraska parolee arrested in abduction and murder of Omaha woman

September 24, 2018

A Nebraska parolee is under arrest in the abduction and killing of a 22-year-old Omaha woman whose body, dumped in a ravine near Fremont, was found over the weekend.

Jeremiah Connelly, 39, is in the Douglas County Jail — booked on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Jeanna Wilcoxen, 22. He is being held without bail.

Wilcoxen was last seen a week ago, on Monday, Sept. 17. No one apparently reported her missing.

Police were tipped off by Connelly himself during a traffic stop.

On Friday, Omaha police pulled over a white Kia Sephia that officers say was being driven recklessly. As officers conducted the stop, the driver ran away, and after a short foot pursuit, they took the driver — Connelly — into custody.

Officers determined that the car was stolen, and in the course of questioning Connelly, he mentioned that a woman had been dead since Monday, according to a law enforcement official.

Police called in homicide detectives — and Connelly led them to Wilcoxen’s body later that day. Her remains were only partially recognizable.

Authorities believe that she was abducted from Christie Heights Park, near 36th and Q Streets.

Officials said the killing is reminiscent of the recent random killings of two young Iowa women: Mollie Tibbetts, an Iowa woman who was attacked and killed while jogging; and Celia Barquin Arozamena, a former Iowa State golfer who was attacked while golfing in Ames last week.

Connelly was granted parole in June after serving more than 12 years in prison for attempted kidnapping in an attack on another young woman. He also had been convicted of robbery and arson — and then committed a second-degree assault while he was in prison.

Had he not been paroled in June, Connelly would have had to stay in prison until Nov. 23 to finish out his sentence.

He was listed Sunday in Nebraska Department of Corrections’ records as an “absconder,” which means he was in violation of the terms of his release.

Wilcoxen had a young son — and juvenile court authorities had recently intervened in the child’s care out of concern about his mother’s substance abuse and the people she was living with.

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