After digging for 25 days, a forensic crew looking for the remains of Jessica Cain, who went missing as a teenager nearly 20 years ago, may finally have a breakthrough.
On Friday, they discovered bones buried four feet underground in a horse pasture along East Orem Drive. The primary suspect in Cain's kidnapping and murder, William Reece, had led police to this field, believing this was where he had buried her in 1997 (he's currently doing 60 years for the kidnapping and rape of a different Texas woman). But for now, it's not clear if the bones are Cain's or if this will open up another homicide investigation — Harris County medical examiners are running a DNA test.
"Right now, we have no clue about the ID," Houston Police Department Homicide Detective Richard Martinez told reporters at the site Friday.
Cain went missing when she was 17, on her way home from a cast party following her performance in a high school musical. Police found her truck and her purse inside it abandoned on I-45, but that was all.
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Interest in the case was renewed, however, last year, when DNA tests linked Reece to multiple kidnappings, rapes and murders that happened within the same time period, as the Houston Chronicle reported earlier this month. He has been suspected, charged or convicted in at least seven incidents, five of which were in 1997 alone.
Before he was convicted in 1998 of the kidnapping of a 19-year-old woman, he went to prison for ten years in Oklahoma for kidnapping and raping two other young women, and he was released in the fall of 1996. According to the Chron, around the same time women started disappearing in the two years that Reece was free, he was also convicted of stealing two bulldozers, which investigators think he was using to bury his victims.
At the East Orem site, the Chron noted, he could be seen pointing them in the right direction.