The following story contains graphic sexual details that may be offensive to some readers.
OLYMPIA (VIDEO) — Bail for a Tenino man charged with second-degree murder in the death of a woman missing 10 years was set at $1.5 million Thursday in Thurston County Superior Court.
Court Commissioner Nathan Kortokrax said he found probable cause to formally charge Eric Lee Roberts, 53, with second-degree murder in the 2009 death of Nancy Moyer, a mother of two children.
Kortokrax set Robert’s superior court arraignment for July 23, at which time he can enter a plea.
Court records state that Roberts on Tuesday called Thurston County dispatch to say that he wanted to confess to Moyer’s murder.
“Roberts stated that he killed Nancy Moyer 10 years ago and he felt tired of holding it inside,” court records state.
Thurston County Sheriff’s Office arrested Roberts on Wednesday after he allegedly told sheriff’s investigators he killed Moyer, then recanted his graphic and detailed statements made to investigators earlier in July.
The arrest came after a investigators received information from a “citizen informant,” according to court documents.
The tip led sheriff’s investigators to search Robert’s home at 16546 Sheldon Lane Southwest, outside of Tenino. Thurston County sheriff’s detectives have been working on the cold case for the past 10 years.
Roberts was living three doors down from the Moyer’s home at the time she disappeared, the sheriff said.
“We are still conducting the investigation of the original area” where suspected foul play took place, Snaza said, referring to a fire pit and concerte slab on Robert’s property where some or all of Moyer’s remains might be found.
The sheriff’s office was still conducting that part of the investigation Thursday.
The sheriff said Moyer and Roberts both worked for the state Department of Ecology at the time she disappeared. Court records state it was then that they were neighbors and started a sexual relationship.
“He does have some criminal background, which is domestic violence,” said Snaza, who was a deputy involved in initial investigation in 2009.
Court records show that Roberts told a sheriff’s detective, “I killed her.”
He told the deputy that on the night of March 9, 2009, he picked up Moyer and took her back to his house. He stated in court records that they were having “rough sex” and he accidentally strangled her.
“I didn’t mean for it to happen,” Roberts told the investigator’s, adding that he was drunk or high at the time. “It wasn’t supposed to happen.”
The investigator stated in court records that he asked Roberts why he did not report he and Roberts allegedly responded: “I just freaked out. I don’t think I even had working phones at that time.”
Roberts allegedly showed the detective a large concrete fire pit, indicating where the woman’s remains might be found.
“I don’t really want to incriminate myself any further, but if I was going to get rid of a body on my property, it would be right there,” he stated, allegedly pointing to the fire pit.
Roberts allegedly told the investigator the rest of Moyer’s clothing was in his basement.
Documents show that Roberts recanted his statements to the investigator the next day.
During the news conference Thursday, Moyer’s ex-husband, and her 19-year-old daughter, Samantha, said they were encouraged by the new developments in the case that would give them closure.
“I guess I would say the family is cautiously optimistic,” Bill Moyer said. “We want to believe that this is the end, but I think, much like the press, that until there is a body, we’re not there yet.”
Moyer said he did not know Roberts and did not find out how close he lived to his former home until this week. He said he may have waved at Roberts when he drove by but never met him.
The family has since moved to Hoquiam.
Also addressing the news conference was insurance agent and hobby podcast host, James Baysinger, whose program from Sunnyside near Yakima was credited for leading investigators to a true suspect in the cold case.
“I think that I was just the first domino effect in all of this,” Baysinger said.
Samantha Moyer said she was convinced Baysinger’s podcast, “Hide and Seek,” was responsible for new movement in the cold case.
“I feel like people wouldn’t have started coming forward if it wasn’t for the podcast and James Baysinger,” Samantha Moyer told reporters.