☛ TS DA: Confession given in 32-year-old Siskiyou County murder
According to Siskiyou District Attorney James Kirk Andrus, 51-year-old Gregory Lynn Nelson admitted to killing 6-year-old Willie Cook Jr. after his abduction in August 1976.
Nelson and 69-year-old Suzanne Dorene Little, who also goes by Suzanne Aubrey, have both been charged with the kidnapping and murder, and have pleaded not guilty to charges.
According to Siskiyou County Sheriff Rick Riggins, 32 years ago Cook's father briefly left his son sitting in his pickup truck, parked at a service station in Happy Camp. When he returned to the truck, his son was gone.
After months of searching, no traces were found until nearly six months later when two teenage boys found his mostly decomposed body in an industrial cardboard barrel off Highway 96.
Although it was difficult to ascertain precisely how the boy died, Riggins said coroners believed he was strangled.
The reported confession was detailed in a statement given by Detective Nathan Mendez at a preliminary hearing in early December. Andrus said Mendez recalled Nelson confessed he had carried the screaming child away from his house to his vehicle when he put his hand over the boy's mouth and smothered him.
Mendez also reportedly testified that Nelson told him throughout the commission of the kidnapping he had been following orders from his then-girlfriend Joyce Croy and her sister, Little.
Croy has since died, Andrus said. Nelson and Little are scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 16.