Thomas Small, 70, arrested four decades after cold case murder, dismemberment of his wife

But police believe her killer has been.

The killing allegedly took place in Bradley, 60 miles south of Chicago.

At the time, cops were left baffled when they discovered a young female’s remains near the Air Tight Bridge in Charleston, Ill. back in 1980.

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Thomas Small, 70.

Thomas Small told police his wife had disappeared after voluntarily abandoning him and their two-year-old daughter.

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Although it’s unclear what led to Small being charged last week, the Daily Journal reported that the 70-year-old allegedly had confessed to the crime.

After 37 years, police in rural Illinois have charged Thomas Small with the cold case murder – and dismemberment – of his wife.

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Her head was never found.

Police later identified the remains as Diane Small more than a decade later after her sister reported the then 26-year-old mother missing.

"Nobody knew who it was because there wasn’t any head, feet and hands," Judy Whiteside, a resident of Coles County, told FoxIllinois.com.