Salt Lake police have arrested the husband of a woman whose body was found Wednesday afternoon floating in the Jordan River.
Gary L. Toland, 45, was arrested Thursday night and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation in the death of 40-year-old Donna Kay Toland.
On Feb. 2, police received a call from a man who said "he had pushed a female into the Jordan River, and he wanted the police to find her and tell her husband," according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.
With little information to go on, officers checked parts of the river but could not find anyone at that time.
Four days later, at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, two children playing by the river near the Utah State Fairpark found the body.
During an autopsy Thursday night, the state medical examiner determined the woman died from blunt force trauma to the head.
At that time, investigators suspected for undisclosed reasons that the victim was Donna Toland and that the person who called dispatchers several days earlier was Gary Toland, according to the jail report.
Earlier this year, Gary Toland filed a missing person's report on his wife, saying the last time he saw her was Dec. 1, 2007, according to jail records.
Investigators contacted Donna Toland's parents in Indiana. They told police that Gary Toland called them Dec. 2, 2007, saying that two men had thrown her over a bridge and into the river, the jail report says. On Dec. 8, Donna's parents received a phone call from Gary Toland's parents saying they believed she was killed by Gary, according to police records.
Gary and Donna Toland were known transients. Gary Toland was spotted by police about 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the homeless shelter near 200 S. Rio Grande and taken to police headquarters for questioning. Following the interview, Toland was arrested in connection with his wife's death.
Although Toland was arrested, Salt Lake police detective Jeff Bedard said the investigation is continuing. One of the biggest questions is when was Donna Toland killed? When her body was found, investigators determined she had been in the river for "an extended period of time," Bedard said. But it was unclear Friday if that meant she was dumped in the river a week ago or in December.The Kentucky Department of Corrections confirmed Toland was sentenced to prison in 1993 on a first-degree manslaughter conviction. He was released 10 years later.
E-mail: [email protected]