HOUSTON (KTRK) --Late Friday afternoon, authorities brought in another piece of heavy equipment to the site on E. Orem near Mykawa, where they have been digging for several straight days. While no one would comment on camera, sources have told Eyewitness News that the search is for the remains of Jessica Cain, a 17-year-old girl missing since 1997.
Former construction worker William Reece has always been the main suspect, but never charged. This Wednesday, only Eyewitness News captured images of Reece at the dig site. We have also obtained a document from Galveston County, which confirms the District Attorney's request from a bench warrant in mid February, so Reece can be taken out of the state penitentary and brought here.
All of this began 1997, where four young women in two states disappeared, and all were linked to Reece.
Besides the disappearance of Jessica Cain, 12-year-old Laura Smither also vanished, and she was later found murdered. In Oklahoma, Tiffany Johnson was murdered as well. Then there was Sandra Sapaugh. Then 19 and pregnant, she was the only known survivor.
Reece was charged in Sapaugh's case and sent to prison. He was only charged in Johnson's case last year, after new DNA technology linked him to her death. But no charges in the death of Laura Smither nor the disappearance of Cain have ever been filed. Reece's attorney in the Sapaugh case, Anthony Osso, told Eyewitness News that he last communicated with Reece about one year ago. Osso says it was on a civil matter, and unrelated to any of the cases. He also says his client has never spoken about the Cain case, and he can not comment on whether any of it may be related.
For now, it's unknown if what's going on at a plot of land in southeast Houston will help bring Cain's case to a conclusion.
Jessica Cain's parents live in Liberty County now, far away from the town where their daughter went missing almost 20 years ago.
Jessica's father, C.H. Cain did not want to face cameras Friday, but he did say he thinks his daughter is still alive.
"We're leaving it in God's hands," Cain said, "If God allows us to have our girl back, that'd be a big blessing."
Cain said police have other credible leads that do not involve William Reece. He said there is evidence which suggests Jessica was trafficked through Mexico and is still alive.
Jessica Cain's disappearance in 1997 sent Galveston County into a frenzy. Community volunteers helped La Marque Police search for the teen for weeks on end with no resolution.
Jessica loved to perform and was last seen at a Bennigan's Restaurant in the Clear Lake area, where she had dinner with friends after a show at Harbour Playhouse in Dickinson.
C.H. Cain and his wife Suzy packed up Friday afternoon and left to spend the weekend at small house on the lake. He said he has been getting many calls from friends and family wanting to know about Jessica. He knows they mean well, but he said he needs some peace and quiet right now.
VIDEO: Story from 1998 on William Reece being suspected in the death of Laura Smither
Laura Smither suspect back in Galveston County
Galveston County law enforcement officials won't say what led them to digging in a southeast Houston field, or who the handcuffed man is, who was seen with them. However, Eyewitness News has learned that the original suspect in the murder of Laura Smither , has been moved from state prison to Galveston County on a bench warrant.