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Accused serial killer agrees to return to Oklahoma to face slaying charge

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GALVESTON, Texas – An accused serial killer has agreed to be returned to Oklahoma, where he faces charges in the slaying of a young woman.

William Reece is currently serving a 60 year prison sentence for kidnapping after he abducted 19-year-old Sandra Sapaugh. Fortunately, she was able to escape and call police.

Recently, Reece has been linked to several unsolved murders across Texas and Oklahoma.

According to KPRC, Kelli Cox disappeared on July 15, 1997 after touring the Denton jail with her criminology class. She phoned her boyfriend to pick her up from a payphone nearby, but was never heard from again.

Nearly two decades later, Reece decided to lead investigators to Cox’s remains.

Investigators in Oklahoma also decided to test Reece’s DNA against an unsolved murder that occurred around the same time in Bethany.

On July 26, 1997, 19-year-old Tiffany Johnston was abducted from the Sunshine Car Wash in Bethany.

Tiffany Johnston

Tiffany Johnston

The next day, her body was discovered in Canadian County.

Cox and Johnston are two of five women who were kidnapped, murdered or disappeared in 1997 under similar circumstances.

All five are believed to be linked to Reece.

However, Reece has only been charged with Johnston’s murder.

Oklahoma authorities allowed Texas to hold Reece in the Lone Star State so he could lead police to the other victims’ bodies.

Reece’s attorney says his client would admit to his role in the murders and would lead police to the bodies in exchange for not getting the death penalty.

Texas officials agreed to the terms, but Oklahoma prosecutors did not.

Oklahoma officials have not decided whether or not to pursue the death penalty in this case.

William Reece

William Reece

On Wednesday, July 14, Reece agreed to be temporarily transferred to Oklahoma to face his pending 1st degree murder charge in connection to Johnston’s death.

“Oklahoma has been good in working with us,” Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady told KTRK. “We were able to keep Reece here, get information that has led to the resolution and solving of these cases, so he’s done what we need at this point, we’ll let him go to Oklahoma, and then we’ll get him back in Texas.”

According to KTRK, Reece will travel to Oklahoma to stand trial for Johnston’s murder.

Once he enters Oklahoma, officials in Texas are expected to charge him with the murders of Jessica Cain , Laura Smither and Kelli Cox, who were all murdered in 1997.

Smither was found dead shortly after she disappeared. However, Cain and Cox both vanished without a trace.

In March 2016, he led police to Cain and Cox’s bodies, KTRK reports.

Timeline of cases Reece is believed to be connected to:

  • April 3,1997: 12-year old Laura Smither was abducted while jogging near her Friendswood home. Her body was found two weeks later.
  • May 1997: 19-year-old Sandra Sapaugh was kidnapped at knife point from a gas station in Webster. She survived.
  • July 15, 1997: Kelli Ann Cox vanished. The University of North Texas student was last seen a gas station in Denton.
  • July 26, 1997: 19-year old Tiffany Johnston disappeared from a car wash near Oklahoma City. Her body was found in a ditch.
  • August 17, 1997: Jessica Cain disappeared.