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Criminology student murdered on class trip to prison by serial killer – Crime Watch Daily Updates



In this episode of Crime Watch Daily Updates: Kelli Ann Cox visited the Denton County Jail with her criminology class for a field trip in July of 1997. When the 20-year-old left, she realized she couldn’t get into her car, so she called her boyfriend on a nearby payphone to ask him to pick her up. But when he got there, she was nowhere to be found. Detectives looked into her boyfriend, but he was cleared of suspicion.

Several other women disappeared around the same time as Kelli in both Texas and Oklahoma, but Kelli’s case went cold.

Over time, investigators found their way to William Reece, an Oklahoma man who had previously been convicted of sexual assault and released from prison.

He also turned out to be a serial killer.

In September 2015, William was arrested in Oklahoma after a DNA swab linked him to the murder of Tiffany Johnston, a 19-year-old who vanished while at a car wash on June 26, 1997. Investigators found her body the next day and learned she had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

Five months later, in February 2016, William agreed to talk to investigators about the murders, but wanted to make sure he wouldn’t be given the death penalty. Detectives found the remains of another victim, Jessica Cain, on March 18, 2016, and on April 1, they located Kelli.

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William went to trial in May 2021 for the murder of Tiffany Johnston, and a jury convicted him. He was also given the death penalty in Oklahoma. In June 2022, he went to trial in Texas and pleaded guilty to killing Kelli Cox, Jessica Cain, and 12-year-old Laura Smither. He was handed three life sentences.
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