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New search underway for missing woman's body in Brazoria County

BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas – Investigators were back out searching Tuesday for the body of a missing woman in Brazoria County.

They are digging just north of Angleton, in a field off Highway 288 near County Road 49.

If Kelli Ann Cox is found, it will solve an 18-year-old mystery.

Investigators used back hoes and bulldozers  Monday to search a lonely field near Highway 288 and FM 1462.

A source close to the investigation told Channel 2 News they are looking there for Cox.

She was 20 years old, an honor student at North Texas State in Denton and the mother of a baby girl when she disappeared in July 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.

At the time, William Reece, 56, was a suspect in the case but never charged. But now Reece, serving 60 years for aggravated kidnapping in Harris county, is talking.

Last month he accompanied police to another dig site in southeast Houston where on March 19 police found skeletal remains that may or may not be those of 17-year-old Jessica Cain, the Tikki Island girl who disappeared the same year as Cox.

The remains have yet to be identified by the Harris County medical examiner.

Reece is cooperating with Texas Rangers and Denton police. Cox's mother, Jan Bynum, said it's the first real break in the case since her daughter disappeared.

“My plea would be for him to tell whoever needs to be told so we can know what happened to our daughter.” Bynum said.

Reece was charged with murder and kidnapping last year after DNA evidence linked him to a teenage Oklahoma girl who also was killed in 1997. He's also suspected of kidnapping and murdering 12-year-old Laura Smither of Friendswood was killed the same year.

The daughter Cox left behind is a woman now. She is 20 years old — the same age as her mother when she disappeared.