Black History Visionaries

Finally Found: Remains Near Houston ID’d as Kelli Cox

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DENTON -- Cold cases don't get much colder than this. And now this case is finally over. It all started in 1997 at what you'd probably have thought was one of the safest places: the Denton cop shop. 20-year-old Kelli Cox had gone there on a class field trip.

She called her boyfriend from a nearby payphone to say her car wouldn't start. By the time he got there -- she was gone.

For all of these years, Kelli's mother, Jan Bynum, raised Kelli's daughter while waiting for word on what happened to her Kelli.

"The longer it went, the less hope I had of getting those answers," Bynum told NewsFix on Monday.

The break in the case came earlier this year when crews started digging in a field near Houston. Convicted kidnapper William Reece told cops where to dig to find the body of another young woman.

Jessica Cain had also been missing since 1997. They found remains right where Reece said they would.

From there, the search moved to Brazoria County, south of Houston. They found more remains, again, right where Reece said they would.

On Monday, the news came from Denton PD.

"Through forensic analysis of dental records, those remains have been positively identified as Kelli Ann Cox," the statement read.

"When you don't know the whereabouts of a loved one, that grieving process tends to go on and on," Denton police officer Shane Kizer said. "Hopefully, we're giving them closure and allowing them to start healing at this point in time."

All this time, Jan Bynum kept up hope.

Hope for a very different outcome.

"It's a relief in one respect because I know. I know she's gone," Bynum said. "I know she's in God's arms. I know she's been at rest all these years."

It's not what she wanted to hear.

But at least now... she knows.

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