A suspected serial killer has been linked to the murder of a Texas college student 20 years ago, KDFW-TV reports.
Authorities have charged William Reece with capital murder in connection with the death of Kelli Cox, who vanished in 1997.
Cox was a University of North Texas student and young mother at the time she disappeared.
She is believed to be Reece’s fourth-known victim. He also faces charges of murdering another woman and two teenage girls.
Reece, who already is in prison on a 60-year sentence for kidnapping in a separate case, reportedly led authorities to Cox’s body last year in southeastern Texas.
The last of 4 previously unsolved cases finally sees charges. William Reece indicted for 1997 murder of Kelli Ann Cox. pic.twitter.com/PZJtuwS2ew
— Robert Arnold (@kprcrobert) December 15, 2017
Cox was 20 years old and studying criminal justice in college when Reece allegedly brazenly kidnapped her in broad daylight near the Denton Police Department.
Investigators had searched for Cox for 19 years until Reece led them to her burial site in April 2016, the television station reports. It would take more than a year to bring charges.
Jan Bynum, Cox’s mother, was at the grand jury’s announcement of the indictment earlier this week.
“This is something I have wanted a long time,” Bynum said.
“She presented me with a copy of the indictment. I have a copy of the indictment indicting William Reese for capital murder in the case of Kelli Ann Cox.”
Bynum said there were moments when she thought she may never see justice for her daughter as the case dragged on for years without progress.
“One of my fears has been William Reese was going to die in prison and there were never any official charges holding him responsible for Kelli’s death,” Bynum told the television station.
“Kelli was the only one where there had not been an indictment.”
The case has continued for so long that the original detective working the investigation is retired, according to Denton Police Department spokesman Shane Kizer, who said he’s glad Cox’s family is getting closure.
“In cases that become cold cases, you think you will never find out. You do get conclusion there,” Kizer said.
“Feels good for the family.”
The first prosecution of the three other murder charges against Reese is scheduled for trial in Oklahoma next summer.
[Feature image: Kelli Cox/Courtesy of the Cox family]