Utah Police ID Suspect In 1972 Cold-Case That Was Very Dark

In Utah, investigators have identified one suspect and are seeking another in the brutal unsolved murder of an Army veteran and the rape of a woman who was with him when he was murdered on Thanksgiving weekend in 1972.

The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office identified Daniel Arthur Bell as one of two men suspected of killing 21-year-old Gregory Dahl Nickell nearly 50 years ago while he was on a date at a scenic overlook west of Vernal.

Investigators say Bell and the unidentified man abducted Nickell’s date and raped her after killing him.

The sheriff’s office says investigators believe that releasing Bell’s name will help them identify the second suspect, who is believed to be younger than Bell.

“Our investigators continue to develop and follow leads in pursuit of justice for everyone affected by this heinous crime.” The Uintah County Sheriff’s Office said in a statment.

When Nickell returned to Vernal following his honorable discharge from the Army, he took an 18-year-old woman for a date to the overlook. When a man knocked on Nickell’s car window around 1 a.m., he told him there had been a car crash and asked for help.

A man shot Nickell at least three times with a .22 caliber pistol as he turned away from the window, officials say. After pushing Nickell’s body onto the woman, the man threatened her before driving them to a remote area with his accomplice following in a second car.

When the men arrived, they used gasoline from Nickell’s car to set it on fire while the body of the veteran was still inside. In the second vehicle, the men took the kidnapped woman, drove 60 miles, and then each raped her once before abandoning her at the roadside.

Investigators were finally able to pin down one suspect after forensic evidence from the victim helped them identify him.

Labrum said, “It is a tragedy that it has taken 50 years to identify one suspect. I hope the public can help us identify the other suspect sooner rather than later.”