When we first starting looking into the murder of young mother Jody Rilee-Wilson it was unsolved -- a tragic mystery. But things sure have changed since then. Her death was suspicious, but for years that's all anyone could really say.
Crime Watch Daily is on the scene of one very active investigation revealing up-to-the-minute details. And the shocking confession that just turned a nearly cold case into something else entirely.
What was discovered atop a mountain in eastern Oklahoma was never meant to be found. It's a virtual world away from where the story really begins in Roxbury Township, New Jersey, where a girl named Jody Rilee grew up in suburban bliss. Jody's father James Rilee has served as mayor and on the council of the township.
But according to Jody's closest friends, the girl with a laugh described as contagious never acted like a daughter of privilege.
"Jody was so much fun. She had just the best energy. She celebrated your smallest victories and was just always there for you," said Jody's friend Lisa Anderson.
Which is why Jody's loved ones say it came as such a blow when after high school she seemed to want more than Roxbury could provide. She decided to move to Oklahoma.
"I was very upset because she was my closest friend," said Tiffany De Filippis. "She had just gone through a bad break-up and she said 'You know what, I need to just get away and breathe,' and she chose Oklahoma because she had family out there."
"She had been talking to my aunt for quite some time and I think my aunt said 'Why don't you come out here and you can go to school out here for a little while,'" said Jody's father James Rilee.
So at age 22, Jody Rilee-Wilson left the bustle of suburbia behind for the relative wilds of Wister, Oklahoma, population approximately 1,000. Compared to Wister, Roxbury may as well have been Manhattan. But despite the slower pace, Jody's life was changing at lightning speed.
"A couple months later she had told me she had met someone and that she seemed very happy," Tiffany De Filippis tells Crime Watch Daily. "They were going on all these awesome dates. She was really into this person."
His name was Donald Lee Bocephus Wilson -- "Bo" for short. And that's all most of Jody's friends knew about him, because before anyone got a chance to meet the new man in her life...
"We moved her to Oklahoma in December and she was announcing her wedding by that May," said Lisa Andrson.
And that wasn't all.
"I thought it was just that she was getting married," said Tiffany. "But she was pregnant."
"She wanted to be married and have a child, I think she looked forward to that, so I think that was kind of a dream come true," said James Rilee.
She was a beaming bride with a groom to match. But in other pictures from the wedding day, one can't help but notice the differences between the first family of Roxbury and the Wilsons of Wister.
"It was definitely like two worlds colliding. But everybody got along and it was a beautiful day," said Lisa.
Roughly four months after that beautiful day, Jody gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Annabelle.
"Jody was the best mom. She just fell right into it. She was a natural," said Lisa.
A new husband, a new baby -- everything seemed to be falling right into place. But was it all happening too fast? And were all these rapid changes as happy as they appeared?
"She confided that she was having some trouble in her marriage, struggling a little bit with balancing a lot of his family's opinions about the baby. I know she felt like her toes were being stepped on a little bit," said Lisa.
And there was something else, a secret Lisa says she's been harboring since a few days before the wedding, when Jody took her to a local bar to meet some of her friends.
"And we had only been there for a few minutes when somebody had come in the door and thrown a set of car keys and it hit Jody in the back of the head," Lisa tells Crime Watch Daily. "I kind of stood up out of my seat not knowing what was going on, and one of her friends just grabbed my arm and said 'Don't get involved. That's Bo.'"
Lisa says Jody told her to forget about it, and even swore her to secrecy.
"She begged me not to say anything and ruin her wedding day," said Lisa. "She was determined to make things work with Bo and have Annabelle born into a loving home."
Now Lisa Anderson often finds herself wondering what might've happened if she had said something.
On Tuesday, May 5, 2009, Jody Rilee-Wilson had just finished making a round of calls to let her loved ones know she lost her phone, and that she'd be going away for a few days.
"The last time I communicated with Jody was on Tuesday," said Jody's mother Stacey Rilee. "She didn't have her phone, so she had to go through using her husband's phone and she was telling me they were going to be going to New Mexico for a funeral [on Thursday]."
The next day, Stacey sent her daughter an email, and in the two days to follow, several more. She got no responses, so she called Bo Wilson. He tells Stacey that the family actually left for the funeral that Tuesday night instead of Thursday, but that Jody suddenly opted to stay behind for work, and then this:
"The rest of the family took Annabelle to go to the funeral," said James Rilee.
Annabelle was just three and a half months old. When they heard that, did that seem odd?
"Yes," said Stacey Rilee. "She would not let them take the baby and her stay behind."
And there was more bad news, as reported by journalist Abbott Koloff, who was about to become part of the story in a very big way.
"The Wilsons drove home on Saturday," said Koloff, a writer for the Bergen Record. "Jody wasn't home, their dogs weren't fed and there was a box outside and it was soaked in the rain."
Inside that rain-soaked box?
"My wife sent a locket that said 'Mom' on it, for Jody for her first Mother's Day," said James.
"I think right then and there, that's when we were like 'Yeah, something's not right here,'" said Stacey.
Jody Rilee-Wilson, 23, goes missing from her Wister, Oklahoma home after husband Bo, mother-in-law Kathy Wilson and father-in-law Jerry Wilson left for an out-of-state funeral that Jody was supposed attend.
When Jody's mother Stacey Rilee finally spoke to Bo, he was coming back from the funeral, and that was the first time she heard Jody hadn't gone on that trip.
"And he was like 'Well, I'm on my way back, as soon as I get back I'll let you know what's going on.' From that point on it was, she was missing," said Stacey.
When the Wilsons reportedly return home that Saturday to find the dogs unattended, and packages left out in the rain. Bo files a missing-persons report. And from more than 1,300 miles away in New Jersey, so do the Rilees.
"Sunday I flew to Oklahoma and I drove directly to the Wister Police Department," said James Rilee.
James is met at the station by Bo, and while the two wait for information there, elsewhere Jody's friends hope for the best.
"I just kept saying she's going to show up, and that Sunday was Mother's Day," said Jody's friend Lisa Anderson. "It was her first Mother's Day and Jody and her mom were so close that I just felt myself watching the clock all day."
What no one knew then was that just two days earlier, a paraglider flying over a mountain 15 miles from Jody's home was getting a bird's eye view of horror.
"That was Mother's Day weekend that we found out, we found out that a body was found up on a mountain," said Stacey Rilee.
The body had been wrapped in trash bags and dumped like garbage.
"When the OSBI agent came he immediately told both Bo and I that a body had been found and had been identified as my daughter," said James Rilee. "I had to call my wife and tell her."
"That was devastating," said Stacey. "And Mother's Day has never been the same since."
But while dental records confirmed that it was definitely Jody found on that mountain, because of her advanced state of decomposition, authorities couldn't determine exactly how she died, only that the trash bags concealing her, as well as drag marks in the grass around her body, made her death "suspicious."
"She was brought to a place where she was not to be found. There's zero question about that," said James. "This isn't a place you would go for a walk. It was literally on top of a mountain at the end of a dirt road and dragged into the woods. It's a miracle [she was spotted] because having to live without knowing is pretty bad too."
And there was someone else who found the whole story pretty extraordinary: New Jersey reporter Abbott Koloff. What were the headlines at the time?
"Well it was that 'Roxbury's mayor's daughter was missing and then found on top of a mountain and it was a suspicious death,'" said Koloff. "The belief is that there must've been a reason to cover something up, whether she was murdered or not."
And Koloff says that the more he dug around, the more suspicious the story became.
"She was going to a funeral on Thursday and that raised all kinds of questions because the family left Tuesday, not Thursday, so why did the family suddenly leave on Tuesday night?" said Koloff. "Why did the family go without her and with the baby?"
Good questions, and as part of his reporting, Koloff asked them.
"They didn't exactly explain it. I've talked to family members and they were just told 'Oh, Jody changed her mind," said Koloff.
But those weren't even the only issues raising eyebrows. Reports from friends say that before she died, Jody had been feeling homesick, and may have even been planning a trip back to New Jersey with Annabelle.
"She said it was too quiet out there. It was very quiet for her," said Jody's friend Tiffany De Filippis.
Jody's friend Lisa Anderson says it was one of many issues between Jody and Bo.
"We had spoken about her coming back to New Jersey quite a bit," said Lisa. "Ever since the first time I met Bo, I had been trying to reassure her that she could always come home. She just wasn't sure how to go about it and what her rights would be, and things like that."
Police questioned Bo and the rest of the family about the rumors and suspicions, but no charges were filed, even after investigators find Jody's car a month later more than 100 miles away from her body.
"It was sitting in a parking lot for weeks at a place called the Pig Out Palace," said Abbott Koloff. "The keys were in the ignition and the door was unlocked."
What authorities found in that car has never been revealed to the public. But for the next eight years, no arrests were ever made -- no major breaks at all.
Then, for the eighth anniversary of Jody's death, Abbott Koloff decided to revisit the case.
"It was a very sad story and I went to my editors this year and said 'I'd like to come back to this' because I didn't want Jody to be forgotten in Oklahoma, where she had lived," said Koloff.
And as the reporter started digging back in, he found that a lot has changed since Jody's suspicious death.
"Bo Wilson is now a preacher. I know he's remarried. He's living in another town," said Koloff. "Last time I called him was for this series that we did in May, and I told him who I was and I wanted to speak about Jody and he said 'OK' and then hung up, and then he changed his number. So that's the extent of our relationship."
As for Bo's parents, Kathy and Jerry?
"Jerry's an interesting person," said Koloff. "He had a couple of run-ins with the law. In 2013 he took out a knife and threatened someone at a restaurant in Wister. He got a suspended sentence for that."
And he got even worse from wife Kathy Wilson.
"His wife threw him out of their house," said Koloff. "In court papers she said that he threatened to kill her with a knife, and then he was ordered out of the home, according to court papers, on May 2nd of this year."
Three days after that incident, Koloff's updated report on Jody Rilee-Wilson is published online. And a few months after that, just days before we sat down to conduct our interviews, Abbott Koloff got a very interesting call from someone claiming to have new information. That caller? Bo's dad, Jerry Wilson.
Jerry Wilson: "Let me tell you, let me tell you what happened."
Earlier this year, after publishing a series of articles for the anniversary of Jody Rilee-Wilson's unsolved death, New Jersey reporter Abbott Koloff reached out to various family members for comment, including Jody's father-in-law Jerry Wilson.
"I left a message saying who I was and that I had just written the story about Jody, and then I just said 'I want you to talk about that night,' and he called me back," Koloff tells Crime Watch Daily.
Abbott Koloff: "Do you mind if I record you?"
Jerry Wilson: No, no, not at all. Let me tell you, let me tell you what happened."
It was just days before our own reporting began.
Jerry Wilson: "It's hard to tell this because, but it's the truth. On this particular night, my wife and Bo had left the house, and I was there taking care of the 3-month-old baby."
Abbott Koloff: "You were watching the baby at your house?"
Koloff: "So do you remember why the baby was at your house?"
Wilson: "Yeah, they had to go somewhere for a few minutes. And they were gone about four or five hours."
Questionable enough as is, but it's what Jerry says Kathy did when she came back that really got his attention.
Wilson: "She went in the closet and started digging around, I said 'What are you doing?' She said 'I'm fixing to haul off this body.'"
Koloff: "So at the time, on May 5th, your wife comes in and out. Did you leave for the funeral that night?"
Wilson: "Yeah, as soon as they got back we did. I don't know what time it was, it was sometime during the night."
And two days before when Jody told everyone they were leaving.
"He said that Kathy said 'We gotta go, we gotta go, get on the road,'" said Koloff.
And after that, Jerry says, they left with their bags, with Baby Annabelle and even with Kathy Wilson's pet possum. But no Jody.
Jerry Wilson: "It was probably midnight or after."
And there was something else about that trip. Jerry says that initially, his son Bo took a separate car -- Jody's car.
Wilson: "And Bo took her car and we went -- oh it's the Pig Out Palace, but the name of the town is Henryetta. They parked her car right on the side. And then I asked him, I said 'What's Jody's car doing up here?' And he said 'Oh, she'll be up here in the morning to pick it up.'"
After that, Jerry says Bo got into their car and they all drove on to that funeral in New Mexico.
Koloff: "So when you found out that she had died, had you ever asked Bo about it?"
Wilson: "Yeah, Bo was just quiet-mouthed. 'I don't know. I don't know.' But I should've known he was lying to me."
It was only after a few years of casual questioning that Jerry Wilson says his son finally broke down and told him exactly what happened.
Wilson: "He'd been planning on killing her for several days, or weeks, before this happened. She was wanting to take the baby and go back to New Jersey to see her mother and dad, and he didn't want her to go. He said 'Yeah, I put a bag over her head and I smothered her to death and then we put her up on the mountain.'"
"We" as in Bo and his mom Kathy.
Koloff: "So he put the bag over her head?"
Wilson: "Yeah. Now I don't know where my wife was involved in that part of it or not, but she was with him. They throwed that girl in the back of her car and hauled her up in the mountains and throwed her out."
Koloff: "In the back of which car, Kathy's car?"
Wilson: "No, Jody's car."
Koloff: "And this is because she was going to take the baby -- well, she was talking about going home for good, right?"
Wilson: "No, she was just going to take the baby and go visit her mom and dad for a few days."
Koloff: "So he killed her because she was going to just go for a few days."
Koloff: "Why didn't he want Jody to go see her parents?"
Wilson: "He was afraid that she wouldn't come back."
It was all right there in Jerry Wilson's statement: a family of suspects and a timeline for murder complete with motive. But if Jerry had this information for so many years, why did he wait so long to come forward? And why so soon after getting kicked out of the house by his wife Kathy?
"He is obviously angry about what happened," said Koloff. "Is he telling the whole truth? I can't say, I don't know."
But then Abbott Koloff wasn't the only person Jerry had spoken to. Months before he made that recorded call on the exact same day he was removed from his home with Kathy, Jerry went to police with the same basic story.
"That Kathy talked about having to get rid of a body and that Bo had put a bag over Jody's head and smothered her," said Koloff.
But that statement was made over three months before Crime Watch Daily sat down for this report. So why hadn't there been any arrests?
Sadly, Annabelle was just three and a half months old when her mother lost her life. And if the recent statements by Jody's father-in-law Jerry Wilson are to be believed, Jody's husband Bo and mother-in-law Kathy are responsible.
"It's a little strange that now he's coming and he's saying this. Why not eight years ago after it happened?" said Jody's friend Tiffany De Filippis.
It's a fair question, especially given the timing of when Jerry Wilson finally did go to the police -- the very day Kathy had him kicked out of the house.
Either way, there is one indisputable fact when it comes to Jerry Wilson.
"He is the first to speak publicly. He's the only one breaking the silence," said reporter Abbott Koloff. "I'd like to hear what Bo has to say about that night and what Kathy has to say about that night."
And so would a lot of other people. So we decided to ask the Wilsons ourselves. Crime Watch Daily went on a stakeout for days in Oklahoma looking for Bo and his mother Kathy. Outside of Kathy Henry's house -- Bo's mother, Jody's mother-in-law -- we spotted Bo Wilson driving up. We wanted to talk to him about Jody and how his father is making serious accusations.
Very loud silence from Bo Wilson. Then the door opened again -- it was Kathy.
"No comment, you need to leave," said Kathy.
No answer from mom either. But as we were about to find out, there may have been one very good reason the two weren't talking. Turns out, just one week before this encounter, a warrant was issued for DNA swabs of both Bo and Kathy "pertaining to the homicide of Jody Rilee-Wilson."
"In the affidavit they said they were looking for a comparison to evidence found in the car," said Abbott Koloff. "So what that evidence is we don't know."
Clearly the authorities are taking Jerry Wilson's claims seriously.
"Enough to go to a judge with it, yes," said Koloff.
Then, just nine days after we showed up at Bo and Kathy's doorstep:
"We wanted to announce that two arrest warrants have been issued: One for Donald Lee Bocephus Wilson, one for Edith Katherine Wilson. These are two are suspects in the murder of Jody Rilee-Wilson," Le Flore County District Attorney Jeff Smith said in a news conference.
Eight long years after a paraglider spotted Jody's body on the top of a mountain, her ex-husband Bo Wilson and mother-in-law Kathy are under arrest, charged with first-degree murder and accessory after the fact, respectively.
"The penalty for murder in the first degree in this particular case carries either life or life without parole. The penalty for accessory after the fact carries up to 45 years," said D.A. Smith.
We caught up with Jody's dad via Skype just days ago to get his reaction on the latest.
"Right now Stacey and I are spending 100 percent of our time making sure Annabelle feels loved and safe, and we'll wait for the case to be adjudicated in Oklahoma," said James Rilee.
And until that day comes, James says he won't be commenting on how the family feels about just who was arrested, only the latest developments with their granddaughter, who up until recently was staying with her father in Oklahoma.
"When we were in Oklahoma, DHS met with us and we were given temporary guardianship, and since then there's been a second case which granted us permanent guardianship," said James.
The little girl is now being raised in the same house as her mother before her.
"We'll work to make Annabelle's life as comfortable and happy as possible and show her all the love in the world," said James.
Like they did with Jody.
"It is a sad story," said Abbott Koloff. "Hopefully it will draw to some conclusion that the Rilees at least will be able to know what happened to their daughter, and right now they are in a state of limbo and have been for years, just not knowing. Had her body not been found they wouldn't even know that she's dead
It's a very different case now than it was when we started investigating, developing as rapidly as the changes in Jody's last year of life.
But for the family, there is one thing that has remained consistent since the day their daughter died, and will until the judge's gavel comes down.
"I just want justice for my daughter is basically how I feel," said Stacey Rilee. "I just want somebody to right the wrong that happened in her life. Her daughter is not going to have that opportunity to have her mother in her life, and it's very hard on us, and I hope this case gets solved because it's something that's overdue."
Both Bo Wilson and his mother Kathy Wilson have entered not-guilty pleas. Their next court date is scheduled for December.