Kidnapping victim hypnotized to recall details about attacker

ByMarla Carter KTRK logo
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Kidnapping victim hypnotized to recall details about attacker
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William Reece, 56, has been a suspect in several disappearances of young girls, but he's only been convicted in one case.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Investigators say William Reece may be tied to a missing person's case. For three days they've been out on site looking for the remains of Jessica Cain. Reece has been assisting in the search, all while in police custody.

Reece, 56, is serving a 60-year sentence for the kidnapping of Sandra Sapaugh in Webster in 1997.

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"I was scared. I was in shock. I was shaking," said Sandra Sapaugh in her testimony in 1998.

Reece abducted her, assaulted her and took off with her in his truck down the Gulf Freeway. It's testimony she remembered thanks to Sue Dietrich.

"I'm the reason he's sitting behind bars for 60 years," said Sue Dietrich, former Police Chief of Tiki Island.

Dietrich was the Tiki Island Police Chief at the time. While the crime happened in Webster, investigators called upon Dietrich for help. They asked Dietrich if she would hypnotize Sapaugh. Dietrich agreed to do it.

"Your subconscious stores everything and hypnosis is just an opportunity to allow your conscious mind to rest so you can recall what's in your subconscious mind," said Dietrich.

It helped tremendously. Dietrich said the victim recalled important details in the case.

"She described the inside of his truck. The color. She described him. What he looked like. She said he had pockmarks. He wore a black cowboy hat," said Dietrich.

Sapaugh was able to identify Reece in a line-up. He was later convicted for kidnapping Sapaugh. Still, Dietrich is convinced there are other victims out there.

"They need to ask him about anything they think he might have been a suspect in because William Reece is not going to tell you, unless he thinks you already know," said Dietrich.

VIDEO: Story from 1998 on William Reece being suspected in the death of Laura Smither

May 1997: Sandra Sapaugh, 19, was held at knifepoint and kidnapped. Because she escaped, she was able to identify Reece as her captor. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. He was eventually convicted and is now serving time in jail.

July 1997: Tiffany Johnston, 18, went missing in Oklahoma City and was later found dead. The case went cold for nearly 20 years. In 2015, DNA evidence linked Reece to Johnston's murder.

August 1997: Jessica Cain, 17, left a restaurant in La Marque and was never seen or heard from again. The case remains unsolved. In 2012, the FBI reissued a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case.

What happened to Cain remains a mystery, but investigators continue their search, hoping the answers lie in the field off East Orem Drive.