OGDEN — Due to detailed police work and a fraudulent $3 purchase, a suspect in a 2012 California homicide is now in jail.
Cody Tripp, 33, was booked in the Weber County Jail on Wednesday and is being held without bail.
Tripp is the main suspect in the killing of 29-year-old Jordan Vigil, who was found dead in Tripp’s Castro Valley, California, home on May 14, 2012, according to local news outlets. Police did not say how Vigil was killed, but told local news outlets that he was found in a large amount of blood in the home.
Tripp is listed as one of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Most Wanted fugitives, according to the sheriff’s office website.
Finding Tripp after nearly seven years on the run all started with a simple fraud case regarding a $3.08 purchase at an Ogden store. While the purchase may have been small, it nonetheless proved to be substantial.
Ogden Police Detective Rachel Walker was assigned to the case. Walker — who has been with the department for the past four years — said Thursday she frequently investigates fraud cases, and treated the $3 case the same as she would for a much larger fraud case.
Walker found that a Sunset homeowner in the process of moving suspected his credit cards were stolen by one of the people moving furniture. Walker said that she began by asking the moving company for documentation for all the movers at the home.
In those documents, Walker found an immigration card that she believed looked fraudulent. Upon contacting immigration investigators, her hunch was correct and no name could be found to correspond with the immigration records.
Walker and other investigators utilized the department’s Area Tactical Analysis Center, formerly known as the Real-Time Crime Center, to pursue different leads. The ATAC later traced a phone number to an apartment in Salt Lake City.
On Wednesday, Walker, another detective and an agent with the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement went to the apartment and confirmed Tripp’s identity. They also learned that Tripp was a homicide suspect, which Walker admitted was surprising. Police took Tripp into custody and he has been held in jail since.
“This is a prime example of taking what appears to be a nothing case and digging to determine whether it is in fact a nothing case before moving on,” Ogden Police Chief Randy Watt said.
Watt and OPD major crimes commander Lt. Brian Eynon commended Walker’s attention to detail and said her work is a testament that hard work pays dividends.
“Detective Walker has established herself as one of the most tenacious detectives in the bureau,” Eynon said. “She tracks down every single lead and leaves no stone unturned.”
Eynon also said Tripp’s arrest is an example of how important communication can be within the department itself. Walker said she regularly uses the ATAC to assist with her cases, which was critical in finding Tripp.
“If it had been me (handling the case), in all likelihood there would have still been a murderer walking around,” Watt said. “(Walker’s) actions are not only commendable, they are extraordinary.”
Tripp will be extradited to California to face possible murder charges.