Arizona Man Confesses to Killing Wife Days After Reporting Her Missing

Arizona Man Confesses to Killing Wife Days After Reporting Her Missing
Daniel Paduchowski, who pleaded guilty in the death of his wife, Kelly Paduchowski, less than a week after he reported her missing. (Coconino County Sheriff's Office via AP)

An Arizona man admitted to killing his wife one week after she was reported missing, and an exhaustive search started, according to officials

Daniel Paduchowski pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder in the death of his 45-year-old wife, Kelly Paduchowski. He also pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence, concealment of a dead body, and possession of dangerous drugs, according to a copy of the plea agreement, as part of a deal with prosecutors in Coconino County, Arizona.

Flagstaff Police Chief Sean Connolly said that police received a call for Ms. Kelly Paduchowski’s disappearance just six days before.

“I was at the barber. I’ve been at the dry cleaners. I’ve been to restaurants and businesses, and this has been on everybody’s mind,” he said. “When communities are not indifferent, and they are engaged at this level, these are the outcomes that you have.”

NTD Photo
Sheriff’s officials and volunteers park at the Campbell Mesa trailhead near Flagstaff, Ariz., as they search for Kelly Paduchowski, on July 1, 2024. (Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

No motive is publicized for the killing of Kelly Paduchowski.

Michael Tunink, a senior attorney at the Coconino County attorney’s office, said Daniel Paduchowski, 58, is expected to be sentenced to 16 years without the possibility of parole for the murder charge. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Authorities said Mr. Paduchowski called Flagstaff police on Sunday night, saying his wife never returned after leaving to go for a run and a swim at Lake Mary, southeast of Flagstaff.

Police began suspecting Mr. Paduchowski quickly after the wife’s relatives found her car on the other side of the town. Mr. Paduchowski’s arrest was announced the next day. By Monday morning, police said, the missing persons case had turned into a homicide investigation.

Mr. Paduchowski agreed to give police evidence and lead them to his wife’s remains, hand over the keys to her car and her cell phone.

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Flagstaff Police Chief Sean Connolly announces a conviction in the disappearance and death of Kelly Paduchowski, in Flagstaff, Ariz., on July 5, 2024. (Hattie Loper/Arizona Daily Sun via AP)

Flagstaff police said they found Ms. Kelly Paduchowski’s remains on Friday morning but did not release the location, citing active “recovery efforts.”

Authorities said the search for Ms. Kelly Paduchowski was expansive, including local and federal agencies, nearly 50 search and rescue members who searched by foot, helicopter, and on mountain bikes, as well as search dogs and drones. About 60 people from the community also volunteered for the search effort, police said.

Mr. Connolly, the Flagstaff police chief, said Friday that authorities have been in constant contact with the victim’s relatives, including her children.

“Since the moment I sat in the living room with Kelly’s family, I cannot tell you how impressed I have been with their strength and their resolve in handling this incredibly tragic situation,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.