Suspected serial killer indicted for UNT student's 1997 murder

Two decades after the kidnapping and murder of a North Texas college student, a suspected serial killer has been indicted for the crime.

William Reece is charged with capital murder for the death of Kelli Cox, a young mother and UNT college student who disappeared in 1997. It’s the fourth murder case against Reece. He’s also charged with killing another woman and two teenage girls. He was already in prison for kidnapping when he led investigators to Cox’s body last year in Southeast Texas.  

The 20-year-old UNT student was kidnapped in the middle of the day near the Denton Police Department. Now, 20 years later, Reece is finally facing justice.

Cox was studying criminology when police say she became the victim of a man who is now suspected of being a serial killer.

For 19 years, investigators searched for Cox until April 2016 when Reece led them to where he buried her in Brazoria County. It took another year and a half for the indictment to finally come.

Cox's mother, Jan Bynum, says she wanted to be in Brazoria County for the grand jury's announcement.

“This is something I have wanted a long time,” she said. “She presented me with a copy of the indictment. I have a copy of the indictment indicting William Reese for Capital murder in the case of Kelli Ann Cox."

As the months went by after her daughter's body was found, there were times Bynum thought the indictment might not happen. Reese is already serving 60 years for a kidnapping conviction.

“One of my fears has been William Reese was going to die in prison and there were never any official charges holding him responsible for Kelli's death,” Bynum said. “Kelli was the only one where there had not been an indictment. When Brazoria County stepped up, that was very important to me. "

Denton PD Spokesman Shane Kizer was with the department back in 1997 when Cox disappeared. The case has stretched on so long that the original detective on the investigation has since retired. Kizer says he’s finally getting some closure.

“In cases that become cold cases, you think you will never find out. You do get conclusion there,” he said. “Feels good for the family."

Reese is also charged with three other murders. The first of the cases is set for trial next summer in Oklahoma.

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