SITKA - The arrest this week of a 45-year-old woman in Illinois was welcome news to a mother whose son disappeared from Sitka more than 20 years ago.
Reta Coville, who lives in the San Diego area, did not know for years what happened to her son Scott, who moved to Sitka in 1987 to work in commercial fishing and disappeared about a year later.
Jane Limm, of Oswego, Ill., married Scott Coville in Sitka in October 1987. She was indicted by a Sitka grand jury last week on charges of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the death of Scott Coville, who was 26.
Limm was taken into custody Wednesday outside her apartment in Illinois. She is being held on $250,000 bail.
Alaska State Troopers plan to extradite Limm to Alaska to face charges. Attempts on Saturday to find out whether Limm had a lawyer were unsuccessful.
Reta Coville told the Sitka Sentinel by telephone from her California home that Limm's arrest is like a miracle to her. She said she had long suspected that Limm was either responsible for Scott's death, or knew more than she was saying.
Coville said she had not spoken to Limm in years and she last spoke to her son in March of 1988.
Covilles said her son met Limm at La Sierra College in Riverside, Calif. When he decided he needed a break from school, he tried to get a job on a fishing boat, or in a cannery, and headed to Alaska, Coville said.
Limm joined him in Sitka in the summer of 1987, and the two were married there in that October. In February 1988, they returned to San Diego and had a church wedding, Coville said. That was the last time she saw her son.
When Scott first went missing, Coville thought that maybe her son "needed to get away from everybody and think things through."
But she said she and her husband grew suspicious over time when she didn't hear from Limm and she didn't report Scott missing.
"To me, it didn't seem like new-wife behavior, even old-wife behavior," Coville said.
About 12 years ago, Coville and her husband accepted that Scott was dead.
"We finally just decided to let God handle it," she said. "If we're supposed to know, we would know."
A few years ago, Coville said she got a call from Alaska authorities asking if her son had ever surfaced, but she never expected to get word that Limm had been taken into custody. Alaska troopers have said they got a break in the case in the spring of 2007. So far, they have released very little information about the case.