Police spend 3rd day digging up field in search for teen missing 19 years

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Friday, February 26, 2016
Police: Search underway for Jessica Cain's body in SE Houston
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A break in the Jessica Cain case may be at hand

HOUSTON -- Crews will resume their search today in a southeast Houston field for Jessica Cain, a teenager who went missing 19 years ago. It's the third day authorities have searched the location.

The search continues after last night's bombshell development: Cain's father told Eyewitness News police notified him they have received a lead about his daughter's whereabouts and are digging in a southeast Houston field for her body.

Cain was just 17 years old when she disappeared in 1997.

Houston police have been searching the private property off East Orem for days, white tents over their digging site.

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Police also confirmed that William Reece, 56, now is being investigated in connection to Cain's disappearance. Reece, who is currently behind bars for an unrelated aggravated kidnapping conviction, was released recently on a bench warrant to Galveston County. On Wednesday, he was on the property where authorities are digging. He used to live less than four miles away.

Reece lived on Fauna St, less than 4 miles from where police are digging

Reece also was the primary suspect in the death of Laura Smither, the 12-year-old girl who vanished while jogging near her Friendswood area home on April 3, 1997. Her body was found later that month in Pasadena.

Smith and Cain's disappearances were just four months apart.

"We continue to have hope she's not dead. We're praying she's not," Cain's father, C.H. Cain, said.

The Cain family believes she might have been taken across to Mexico all those years ago. Reece could have the answer.

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

On Thursday, authorities asked Tim Miller and his organization Texas EquuSearch to come out to the scene. Miller told abc13 he was asked to help because his organization has a lot of experience with these types of searches.

There is a backhoe digging up dirt in a small area on this privately-owned land.

Right now the digging continues as authorities work to recover a body on this privately owned land along East Orem.