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Friday, August 21, 2009

[TX] Cop-on-cop armed domestic violence abduction ended with Officer Hillsman freed & Officer Reyes dead

...The two-day hunt for Julio “Trey” Reyes, 38, and his ex-girlfriend, Rachel Hillsman — also a Katy ISD officer — ended about 7:15 p.m. when gunfire was heard inside the two-story brick house...

AUGUST 18TH, 2009:

...As officers take to the streets, the air, and on foot to search for Rachel Hillsman and her alleged kidnapper, some of their fellow coworkers at Katy ISD say they pray both of their police officers return home safely. "We're hopeful that this will end in a positive manner and that both of the officers will be found safe," said Steve Stanford, a spokesperson for Katy ISD...


An Ex-Boyfriend, Who is Also a Fellow Officer, is Named a Suspect
Andrea Nguyen - KIAH
August 18, 2009
Police are searching for a young Waller County woman and her alleged kidnapper. Both happen to be Katy ISD police officers who dated each other and have a child together. Their relationship had gone sour, and investigators believe the suspect may have been unwilling to part ways. The victim's life may be danger. Her blood was found in her vehicle, according to police reports, and investigators consider the suspect armed and dangerous. 39 news has obtained a copy of an arrest warrant for him, which also includes a felony charge of aggravated kidnapping... For the past 10 years, his job has been to keep the students and staff of Katy ISD safe, but now there's a statewide manhunt for Katy ISD police officer, 38 year-old Julio Reyes. Investigators say around 6am Tuesday morning Reyes kidnapped his ex-girlfriend, 24 year-old Rachel Hillsman, who happens to be a Katy ISD police officer as well. "She was in uniform going to work... She was in the process of dropping the kids off at her mother's residence," said Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith. According the flashing highway signs, officials believe Hillsman may have been injured when she was taken by force near her mother's Waller County farm located on 1458 at Foots Wilson Rd. "There was a struggle at the scene," said Smith. "She was seen leaving in the vehicle with Mr. Reyes." Investigators say Hillsman's two children, a 7 year-old, and a 13 month-old daughter, who is also Reyes' child, witnessed the kidnapping. "There were two young children in the vehicle and they were left behind," said Smith. Police say a weapon and possibly handcuffs may have been used on Hillsman. Both of Reyes AR-15 rifles, one personal and one issued by Katy ISD Police Dept., were found in his patrol vehicle, but his Tazer is still missing. Investigators believe Reyes and Hillsman are traveling in his 2002 green Ford super duty pickup with license plate 87V-DP7. As officers take to the streets, the air, and on foot to search for Rachel Hillsman and her alleged kidnapper, some of their fellow coworkers at Katy ISD say they pray both of their police officers return home safely. "We're hopeful that this will end in a positive manner and that both of the officers will be found safe," said Steve Stanford, a spokesperson for Katy ISD. Anyone who has spotted Reyes and Hillsman or a dark green Ford F-250 super cab with license plate 87V-DP7 is urged to call police. Both were last seen heading towards Austin County. [LINK]

Identities Of Kidnapped Katy ISD Police Officer, Abductor Confirmed
by John Pape
August 18th, 2009
[Excerpts] ...Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said Hillsman was taken around 6 a.m. as she was leaving her mother’s home. She was abducted at gunpoint by Reyes from the gate of the rural Waller County residence. Hillsman was wearing her uniform at the time of the kidnapping... Hillsman struggled to escape but was physically restrained by Reyes. Hillsman may have been handcuffed... A charge of aggravated kidnapping is being filed against Reyes. Reyes is reported to be heavily armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a pistol and a Taser... [Full article here]

AUGUST 19TH, 2009:

...The couple [Rachel's parents] describes their daughter as a dedicated law enforcement officer who is active in her church. Emily Hillsman said Rachel found comfort in the hymn "Amazing Grace" when she was scared as a child. "And I can see that Rachel is singing ‘Amazing Grace’ right now," she said...


Suspect is also Katy ISD officer
khou.com staff report
06:46 AM CDT on Wednesday, August 19, 2009
[Excerpts] ... Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said Officer Rachel Hillsman was taken from her vehicle at gunpoint by her former boyfriend Julio Reyes, who also works for Katy ISD police. It happened around 5 a.m. on FM 1458 in Waller County. Hillsman, 24, was opening the gate to her mother's house when she was grabbed in front of her two children... “Mr. Reyes is a trained individual. He would be trained in hiding if he wanted to, so we’re going to have to use every resource that we can to find him,” Smith said... “Our number one concern at this time, obviously, is the safety of both of these officers”... Smith said Hillsman and Reyes have a 13-month-old daughter together and she has a 7-year-old from a previous relationship... The couple had separated in November, but sources say they had fought the night before because she was seeing was someone new. Hillsman had reportedly spent the night at her mother’s because of the fight... Smith said both of Hillsman's children were unharmed and were put safely in their grandmother’s custody. Smith said his department was working with the DPS, DEA, Harris County, the Texas Rangers, the Brookshire PD and other agencies in their search for the officers, and that they were utilizing all available resources... [Full article here]

$25,000 reward offered in the case
Michelle Homer
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
[Excerpts] The family of a Katy ISD officer allegedly abducted by her ex-boyfriend pleaded for her safe return Wednesday... The victim's father said the family has been on an emotional rollercoaster. “Obviously the more time that goes by, the more concerned we become and it’s very unsettling," Dan Hillsman said... Emily Hillsman, Rachel's mother, confirmed that Reyes called her Tuesday morning to tell her that her grandchildren were in Rachel's truck... The couple describes their daughter as a dedicated law enforcement officer who is active in her church. Emily Hillsman said Rachel found comfort in the hymn "Amazing Grace" when she was scared as a child. "And I can see that Rachel is singing ‘Amazing Grace’ right now," she said... A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Rachel Hillsman's return. [Full article here]

Dozens of Officers Assist in Search
Andrea Watkins, Doug Delony
Updated: 19 Aug 2009, 4:40 PM CDT
Published: 19 Aug 2009, 9:04 AM CDT
[Excerpts] ...Waller County Sheriff Glenn] Smith says Reyes and Hillsman had a major argument Monday evening, and Reyes threatened Hillsman several times. Because of those threats, Smith says Hillsman and her two children stayed at Hillsman's mothers home that night. When Hillsman left the house the next morning they believe Reyes was waiting for her at the bottom of the driveway... Sheriff Smith says the agencies helping with the investigation are Katy ISD, Houston, Brookshire, Bellville, and Sealy police departments. In addition to Waller, there are four other counties in the search: Fort Bend, Harris, Montgomery, and Austin. Also in on the investigation, the Texas Department of Public Safey, Texas Rangers, the FBI and the U.S. Marshalls... [Full article here]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | 11:54 AM
[Excerpts] ...Police say Katy ISD Officer Julio 'Trey' Reyes kidnapped his ex-girlfriend, Officer Rachel Hillsman, Tuesday morning... "You can see the look on some of these guys and girls faces that they knew these two and they want to find them both safe," said Sheriff Smith... "There has been a small amount of blood found." Today is another day of road blocks in the Brookshire area as officers search car to car for Hillsman. [Ashley] Zegarrundo, who says she knows Hillsman from their time together at church, has one simply prayer. "That Rachel makes it home safely and that Trey knows that violence isn't going to solve anything," she said. "Just hopefully he realizes that what he's doing is wrong and he can bring Rachel home to be with her two little girls"... [Full article here]

Source: Abducted Katy cop is still alive; SWAT negotiating with suspect
Katy ISD officer kidnapped
Kevin Peters' 11 News report
03:09 PM CDT on Wednesday, August 19, 2009
[Excerpts] Law enforcement officials are negotiating with a Katy ISD police officer wanted in the abduction of his ex-girlfriend, a fellow Katy ISD cop. A SWAT team was called in after deputies say Officer Julio Reyes shot at search crews looking near Officer Rachel Hillsman’s Brookshire home. They said Reyes, 38, is holed up with Hillsman inside one of the vacant homes... Police lines were pushed back to expand the scene, and a ground ambulance was brought in. Officials said there was a Life Flight helicopter on standby at the nearby Brookshire Police Department. [Full article here]

Abductor Dies
Mena El-Sharkawi
Published : 19 Aug 2009, 4:39 PM CDT
Updated: 10:44 PM CDT
[Excerpts] WALLER COUNTY, Texas - A SWAT situation at a Brookshire-area home ended after an abducted Katy ISD cop exited the house safely and the man accused of abducting her committed suicide, officials said. Katy ISD Officer Julio Reyes released his co-worker and ex-girlfriend, Officer Rachel Hillsman, from the barricaded home on Stella Lane Wednesday evening and then fatally shot himself, officials said. Hillsman was transported to an area hospital for medical examination, but her injuries were minor... Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said Reyes may have decided to kidnap Hillsman after she had moved on with her life when the pair separated in November but Reyes wanted to reconnect. He described him as emotionally distressed. Items Reyes bought a day before the kidnapping led investigators to believe he had planned the abduction. Those items include black sheets, a rope and eye hooks... Smith said negotiations with Reyes were almost continuous for almost five straight hours. He described his mood as up and down... Reyes had indicated he didn't want to hurt Hillsman...Houston police SWAT officers said they were led to believe at one time Reyes would surrender peacefully but say he was also violent on the phone. [Full article here]

AUGUST 20TH, 2009:

Kidnapped Katy ISD officer set free, suspect dead
By Shern-Min Chow & Kevin Peters
12:43 AM CDT on Thursday, August 20, 2009
BROOKSHIRE, Texas -- A Katy ISD police officer kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend was set free Wednesday night. Officer Rachel Hillsman ran out of the vacant home where she was held hostage and into an ambulance around 7 p.m. Julio Reyes, the fellow Katy ISD cop who abducted Hillsman Tuesday, is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot. Police say SWAT officers who were helping Hillsman leave the home heard a single gunshot as they ran out. Sources say that while Hillsman was upset and crying when she left the house, she appeared unhurt... "He told them that he was going to let her go and they believed him," said Ralph Sanders, a relative... Hillsman's family members said they knew Julio Reyes and that the kidnapping came as a total shock. "To me the bigger picture is she is safe. She didn't ask for this in my opinion. I mean, I know he has family too and I feel for those people, but the main thing is she's a mom with two kids and she's safe," said Jack Tullos, a relative. When Hillsman was kidnapped, authorities issued the first-ever Blue Alert. This is similar to the Amber Alert and intended to speed the apprehension of violent criminals who kill or seriously wound local, state or federal police officers. [Full article here]


Houston Chronicle
By Mike Glenn
Aug. 20, 2009, 1:47AM
[Excerpts] A Katy Independent School District police officer who abducted his estranged girlfriend killed himself Wednesday evening as a cordon of heavily armed SWAT officers surrounded the vacant home where he was hiding with the woman. The two-day hunt for Julio “Trey” Reyes, 38, and his ex-girlfriend, Rachel Hillsman — also a Katy ISD officer — ended about 7:15 p.m. when gunfire was heard inside the two-story brick house along Stella near Neuman Road. Reyes apparently turned the gun on himself, firing a round into his temple, shortly after he released Hillsman, authorities said. “All of us are very relieved,” said Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith. “Miss Hillsman is doing quite well. She is in very good physical and emotional health”... The DPS officers then spotted a group of houses, which appeared to be vacant, near Hillsman's home. “They were checking the houses and found one of them to have a broken window in the back,” Smith said. The SWAT officer moved closer and spotted Reyes on the ground floor of the home. “They looked in the window, and Mr. Reyes was staring right back at them,” Smith said. Smith said Reyes, armed with his own handgun and Hillsman's pistol, grabbed her arm and began pulling her up stairs as DPS officers forced their way into the building. “One shot was fired by Mr. Reyes toward the officers,” Smith said. Reyes would use Hillsman as a shield, said DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange. The DPS officers did not return fire, fearing they may accidentally strike Hillsman... While Reyes mentioned during the negotiations that he needed to “end this” and “take care of this,” Smith said he never specifically talked about taking his own life... While the investigation is ongoing, Smith said, the abduction was apparently connected to Reyes' emotional attachment to Hillsman,. “It was very obvious that (Hillsman) had moved on with her life. Mr. Reyes wasn't real happy about that,” Smith said. “He was most definitely distressed about their personal relationship”... [Full article here]


By Alex Sanz / 11 News
08:44 PM CDT on Thursday, August 20, 2009
[Excerpts] ...Sources close to the investigation told 11 News that Reyes was captured on in-store surveillance at a Walmart in Katy hours before the standoff started. That is where investigators believed he purchased several black sheets, rope and hooks – all things used to cover the windows of the house where Hillsman was held captive. Hillsman, authorities say, was held at gunpoint several times during the standoff. Her training as a Katy ISD officer, they say, helped her get through it. On Thursday morning, investigators returned to the house and found a flash drive inside a toilet. The drive contained photographs of Reyes and Hillsman taken during their relationship. [Full article here]

By Courtney Zubowski
11:26 PM CDT on Thursday, August 20, 2009
[Excerpts] When Officer Rachel Hillsman ran out of the home where she was being held hostage, she ran into the arms of a U.S. Deputy Marshal. "We talked and I held her hand,” said Deputy Marshal Cameron Welch... Welch, who is with the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders and Fugitive Task Force, says she ran out with her head buried in her hands. She was wearing a T-shirt and work pants. She hadn’t slept all night. Still, he says her training took over and while she is a victim, she is also a police officer. “It really threw me back how quickly she was able to regain her composure and assist us in what we needed to do. It would have been very beneficial,” Welch said. Welch said, ‘would have been,’ because just minutes after Reyes let her go, investigators say he committed suicide. Welch called the 36-hour ordeal an emotional roller coaster. It was one many officers at the scene had never experienced before. "We have an individual who is a police officer. He is one of our brothers and for whatever reasons, we lost him yesterday. It's a different situation,” he said. [Full article here]
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1 comment:

    Southeast Missourian
    By Patrick T. Sullivan
    Wednesday, December 21, 2011
    [Excerpts] Officials involved in the Jacque Waller disappearance investigation no longer will have access to testimony that claims Clay Waller confessed to killing his wife. James Clay Waller Sr., the only person Clay Waller allegedly recounted murdering Jacque Waller to, died Tuesday morning... James Waller's death comes a month after Cape Girardeau Judge William Syler denied the preservation of his testimony... Cape Girardeau Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle submitted a motion Sept. 22 to preserve testimony from the elder Waller that alleged Clay Waller confessed to him shortly after Jacque Waller's disappearance. In a federal affidavit, an FBI agent writes that James Clay Waller Sr. told him Clay Waller confessed to breaking Jacque's neck and burying her body... The alleged confession was laid out in an affidavit of FBI agent Brian Ritter, who talked to James Waller in the course of investigating Clay Waller for making an Internet threat. Clay Waller later pleaded guilty to that charge... Stan and Ruby Rawson, Jacque Waller's parents, have declined to comment on the investigation, but Stan Rawson posted on the Find Jacque Waller Facebook page -- a page with almost 15,000 followers -- that finding his daughter's body is more crucial now than ever. "We cannot let this interfere with going forward with the case against him," Rawson wrote Tuesday afternoon. "The best evidence is still that we locate Jacque's body, and there are people that will not rest until that happens"... Clay Waller will be sentenced for federal Internet threatening charges Jan. 3. Federal prosecutor Larry Ferrell, who preserved the elder Waller's testimony in a federal affidavit, said James Waller Sr.'s death will not affect the sentencing and that he will use the preserved testimony during the hearing. Clay Waller pleaded guilty Oct. 3 to threatening Cheryl Brennecke, his wife's sister and the guardian of his three children. He faces up to five years in prison, although a presentence investigation report suggests he serve up to 10 months in a federal penitentiary. Ferrell plans to use evidence and testimony Jan. 3 to argue for a longer sentence. [Full article here]


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