New detective solves 60-year-old mystery, declares deceased Utahn a serial killer

Jul 28, 2022, 5:32 PM
Merz cold case...
The headstone of Monte R. Merz is pictured in the cemetery in Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County, on Friday, July 8, 2022. Los Angeles police detective Rachel Evans recently determined Merz killed Barbara Jepson and her unborn child in 1956 in a brutal stabbing in her home in California. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)
(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

MOUNT PLEASANT, Sanpete County — On a typical morning in the serene cemetery of rural Mt. Pleasant in Sanpete County, a walker or jogger can be found getting in their morning steps by taking laps on the roads that border and cut through the property, which hardly see any motor traffic.

Sitting unassumingly in the A plot of the cemetery is a small headstone that simply reads: “Monte R. Merz, 1911-1965.” Next to that is an identical headstone where Merz’s mother is buried and a sibling’s is nearby. Merz’s mother died three years after her son. For many years, Monte Merz’s grandchildren in Utah were told that he died in car crash.

But what they just recently learned is that buried in the modest plot is a suspected serial killer and child molester.

And Merz did not perish in any crash. Rather, he died after shooting and killing his fifth wife in California in 1965 and then shooting himself moments later, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The murder-suicide was the final act of violence in a life filled with brutal crimes, according to the LAPD. In total, police now believe Merz killed two women, a teenage girl and a fetus in California from 1956 through 1965. And based on his behavioral patterns, Los Angeles police detective Rachel Evans said she believes those crimes may just be scratching the surface.

Read the full story on ksl.com

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New detective solves 60-year-old mystery, declares deceased Utahn a serial killer