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Coville met Jane N. Limm (also known as Jane Reth) while they were both students at La Sierra College in Riverside, California in the mid-1980s; he was studying biology and she was in the physical therapy program. A couple of years later, Coville dropped out of college and moved to Alaska, where he worked first in the commercial fishing industry and then in a pulp mill. Limm followed him to Alaska in early 1987, after she completed her degree. The couple married in a civil ceremony in October 1987, and had a church wedding in San Diego, California on February 1988. Coville told his mother the relationship was "fire and ice" and he and Limm had frequent arguments.
Coville's official date of disappearance is listed as April 12, 1988, his twenty-sixth birthday. His family hadn't heard from him for weeks before that, however. His mother tried to call him on his birthday, but no one answered him. She sent him a check as a birthday present, but it was never cashed. Coville's mother did get a Mother's Day card in May; it was signed "Love, Jane and Scott" in Limm's handwriting and was postmarked San Bernardino, California. The next time she tried to call his home in Sitka, Alaska, his mother discovered his number was disconnected. One of Coville's friends told his mother he hadn't seen Coville since mid-April and he hadn't said goodbye. Limm did not report her husband's disappearance to the police; neither did she call any of his relatives to ask if they had seen him. Eventually, Coville's mother reported him missing.
Limm moved to Illinois after Coville's disappearance, remarried, and then got a divorce in 2005. In 2007, authorities reopened the investigation into Coville's disappearance. They found his blood on the walls and sub-floor in the bedroom of his trailer. Limm confessed to Coville's murder in a recorded telephone conversation with her ex-husband, and when investigators questioned her in early 2009 she admitted she had killed him. In early 2010, she was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and evidence tampering in Coville's case. A photo of her at the time of her arrest is posted below this case summary.
In October 2010, Limm pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder. The evidence tampering charge was dropped. She admitted that she shot Coville while he was in bed asleep, dismembered his body, wrapped the pieces in bags and put them in the garbage. It was probably incinerated. Limm was sentenced to 55 years in prison, with 19 of them suspended. She stated she committed the murder to get out of an abusive marriage. She is not scheduled for release until 2034, by which time she will be 80 years old.
Coville's body has not been recovered, but foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved. Many of his relatives, including his father, have died in the years since his disappearance, but his mother is still alive.
Alaska State Troopers