Suspected serial killer William Reece was indicted for the murders of two Texas girls who have been missing nearly 20 years.
A Galveston County grand jury spent 10 minutes deliberating before indicting Reece for the murders of Laura Smither and Jessica Cain, both of whom went missing in 1997.
“For 19 years, we’ve been praying for this day to happen. It did happen. Prayers do work,” said Gay Smither, Laura’s mother.
Laura, then 12, vanished while jogging in her Friendswood neighborhood in April 1997. Her body was later discovered in a Pasadena pond.
Cain, then 17, went missing in August 1997 after attending a theater cast party with friends. Her car was later found abandoned on the side of I-45 near Tiki Island.
Cain’s remains were found in a southeast Houston field in March this year after a tip by Reece.
Reece is also linked to the death of Kelli Cox, a North Texas girl who disappeared in July 1997 whose remains were found in Brazoria County this year.
“Without the work by everyone involved, what happened to Laura Smither, Kelli Cox and Jessica Cain would have forever remained a mystery. Now we have answers,” said Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady.
Roady said he made a deal with Reece to not seek the death penalty if he cooperated with investigators in the Cain case.
“In 1997, when Laura went missing, we prayed so hard for her to be brought back to our dinner table. That didn’t happen the way we wanted,” Gay Smither said. “Our prayers were not answered the way we wanted. But our prayers were answered; Laura was found.
“So many families spent year after year looking for their children with no answers at all. When Jessica Cain and Kelli Cox were found, there’s no words to describe what that meant to Bob and I, because we realized early on that as bad as our outcome was, those families walked a much, much harder road than we were walking.”
Reece has spent half his life locked up for sexual assaults and kidnappings.
In 1986, he kidnapped his first known victim at the side of an Oklahoma highway. That victim managed to escape and Reece was charged. While under indictment in that case, Reece sexually assaulted another woman. He was convicted, but was released from prison after serving only 10 years.
Reece was later convicted of kidnapping a 19-year-old girl. He was serving a 60-year prison term when he began cooperating with investigators.
Reece is currently in Oklahoma awaiting trial for the murder Tiffany Johnston. Roady said after Reece stands trial for that murder case, he will return to Texas.
The District Attorney in Oklahoma has not made a decision about whether they will seek the death penalty.
Gay Smither said she forgives Reece for what he’s done, and she hopes to meet with him in person one day to tell him that and discuss her faith.