Ex-detective recalls initial search for Jessica Cain

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A former investigator gave abc13 exclusive new insight into the first months searching for Jessica Cain.

Tiki Island Police Chief Sue Dietrich-Nance has been investigating William Reece for years.

"He's just a monster. Period. He's just a monster," said Sue Dietrich-Nance.

Back in 1997 after two abductions and several missing person cases, the community was on edge.

"People were just scared that there was this monster out there and that he was abducting these young woman and he was," said Dietrich-Nance.

Dietrich is the reason Reece is behind bars for the 1997 kidnapping of Sandra Sapaugh. Reece slashed Sapaugh's tires and abducted her from a Waffle House off of Nasa Parkway off of the Gulf Freeway. He forced her in his truck at knifepoint and took off down the highway. He attempted to sexually assault. Sapaugh jumped from his truck as he was going down the highway. Dietrich hypnotized Sapaugh. It helped Sapaugh remember significant details that ultimately lead to Reece's conviction.

Dietrich said she knows Sapaugh wasn't his only victim.

"He sought out young females that were alone. Just like Jessica," said Sue Dietrich-Nance.

Jessica Cain was 17 years old when she went missing in August of 1997, shortly after Reece abducted Sapaugh.

Pam Mitchell was the lead investigator in Jessica's case. Dietrich talked to Mitchell about Reece and said he was a prime suspect in the Sapaugh case. Soon after, new information began to surface on Reece concerning the Cain case.

13 Eyewitness News talked exclusively with Mitchell. She told us there was evidence to place Reece in town on the day Cain went missing. Plus, other's that knew Reece said he was frightening to be around. Mitchell said the case broke open when a man she had met at a horse auction saw her on TV talking about the Cain case and called her.

"He called me the next day and said, 'Oh my God. I know William Reece','" she said and said he went on to say, "'As a matter of fact, there's something so bad about him I won't let him near my wife and my daughter. I don't trust him,'" said Mitchell.

The tip led her to other leads. Mitchell said she has believed all along Reece was tied to Cain's disappearance.

"The coincidences were far too strong not to believe that he had some involvement, if not all the involvement," said Mitchell.

Despite all their leads, the case went cold.

"If you are a serial killer, you normally work alone and so there are not going to be any clues or leads," said Dietrich-Nance.

Reece was just indicted for killing a woman in Oklahoma. He's also a suspect in several other missing persons cases.

On Friday, investigators found bones at dig site in South Harris County. They're seeing if the bones belong to Cain.

"Her mom came to me when they moved off of Tiki Island and she said, 'We moved our home phone to our neighbor's house in case Jessica escapes and she calls home.' It was pretty sad, pretty sad," said Dietrich-Nance.

Dietrich also believes Reece is tied to another abduction case in Harris County. She hopes he's charged for it someday soon.

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