Body of missing Farmington woman found after two years; boyfriend charged with her murder

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The body of a missing New Mexico woman has been found in Nevada.

The Farmington Police Department reported on July 2 that the body of Cecelia Finona was identified in Clark County and have charged her boyfriend, Jerry Jay, with first-degree murder.

Her remains were found in February by a citizen in Clark County and were identified through DNA on June 30, according to the department's press release.

Finona, an Army veteran, had been missing since 2019.

Jay was charged on July 2. In addition to murder, he was charged with kidnapping in the first degree and tampering with evidence.

From 2019:Farmington police suspect foul play in missing woman's case

The body of Cecelia B. Finona, who was reported missing in 2019, was found in a Nevada desert, the Farmington Police Department reported on July 2, 2021.

He had been the primary person of interest in the case and remains in custody on separate charges in Nevada.

The Sparks Police Department arrested Jay on June 5, 2019 on charges of possession of a credit card without owner's consent and fraudulent use of a credit or debit card.

Finona, 59, had not been seen since the night of May 30, 2019 when family members spoke to her at her residence in the east side of Farmington, according to The Daily Times archives.

Cecelia Finona case:Family continues to search for missing Farmington woman

A 2019 court document connected to Jay's case states Finona lived at a Farmington residence with her mother and Jay. She was her mother's primary caretaker.

She was reported missing on June 1, 2019.

Jay was also missing from the residence and evidence found at the home led Farmington police detectives to be concerned for Finona's safety, the department's news release states.

Farmington police detectives had been working with several law enforcement agencies, including the Sparks Police Department and the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, in the search for Finona.

"Today we have very mixed feelings," Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said in the release. "This marks the ending of two years of searching, and we're deeply saddened at the outcome. We will continue working as we have since the day she disappeared to ensure the person responsible for this is held accountable. We offer our most heartfelt condolences to Cecelia's family and friends,"

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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