| Crime |

Houston Veterinarian Accused in Murder-for-Hire Plot Commits Suicide

McDaniel's veterinary clinic.
McDaniel's veterinary clinic.
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The Houston veterinarian who was accused in a murder-for-hire plot has committed suicide, police confirmed Tuesday morning.

Valerie Busick McDaniel, 48, was free on $50,000 bond, living at a River Oaks condo when she reportedly jumped seven stories to her death Monday. Inside her apartment, police said, they found a note with detailed instructions for her final wishes, and sealed letters addressed to her family. She had been the longtime owner of the popular Montrose Veterinary Clinic.

McDaniel was arrested March 10 in connection to an alleged plot to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband. McDaniel's boyfriend, 39-year-old Leon Jacob, was also arrested on the solicitation-to-commit-murder charges, and he has remained in the Harris County jail on no bond.

According to police, McDaniel and Jacob had hired a third party tasked with tracking down a hit man to kill both McDaniel's ex-husband and Jacob's ex-girlfriend. But that person instead called the police — and the hit man McDaniel and Jacob allegedly attempted to pay $20,000 for the job turned out to be an undercover police officer. Both McDaniel and Jacob were taken into custody.

McDaniel and her ex-husband had an eight-year-old daughter together, and McDaniel was slated to appear in family court because her ex-husband, fearing for his life, filed for a protective order. He and McDaniel had divorced last year, and McDaniel had begun seeing Jacob as the divorce wrapped up. He was the son of McDaniel's divorce attorney.

On Tuesday morning, as the Houston Chronicle reported, a judge denied Jacob's request to be released from jail to attend his girlfriend's funeral.

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