UPDATE: Victims' family 'overjoyed' by cold-case arrest

UPDATE: Victims' family 'overjoyed' by cold-case arrest
Courtesy of Pima County Sheriff's Department
Courtesy of Pima County Sheriff's Department

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - One arrest Saturday night could mean the closure of three murder cold cases in Pima County, according to the sheriff's department.

Deputies arrested David Watson, 46, at 6:21 Saturday evening at his home without incident, according to Chief Deputy Chris Nanos. Watson is charged with the murders of his ex-wife Linda Watson, her mother Marilyn Cox and Cox's friend Renee Farnsworth.

Watson, a captain with the Tucson Fire Department, is being held on $2 million cash bond. His next court appearance is at 1 p.m. May 5.

Friends and family last heard from Linda Watson, 35, on August 20, 2000. The next morning, the door to her home was found unlocked, there was a broken coffee cup inside the home, and there were traces of Linda Watson's blood found inside the home, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Detectives found her remains in 2003 and got a positive DNA identification in 2011.

After Watson disappeared, her mother, Marilyn Cox, 63, moved into Linda Watson's home and entered a custody dispute with David Watson over his child with Linda. Cox and her friend Renee Farnsworth, 53, had just returned home from the first court-appointed visitation with the child when someone gunned them down in Cox's driveway on May 7, 2003, according to Nanos.

Pat Hinkle -- sister of Marilyn Cox and aunt to Linda Watson -- released a statement after David Watson's arrest that reads, in part, "Our family is overjoyed that David finally is behind bars. We've waited for 15 years for this justice, but it is also bittersweet. He is still destroying lives; his children are going to have to live with this for the rest of their lives. We are all still in a kind of shock; after so many years we sometimes felt it would never happen."

Nanos did not describe what led to Saturday's arrest, but said Watson has been the primary suspect for the last 15 years. In that time, he said detectives never gave up on the case.

"It just goes to show you that the men and women of this department are bulldogs," said Nanos. "We'll keep tracking you, we'll find you and you will get punished for the crimes you do."

Nanos said he's proud of the work from detectives and the Pima County Attorney's Office. He also thanks the community for providing tips and support throughout the years.

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