Ghost of Christmas Past.. By Jeff Shapiro
#2
Suspect in girls' abduction found dead in Kerrville
Published: Friday, May 04, 2001
MARK BABINECK
Associated Press

KERRVILLE, Texas {AP}— A convicted child sex offender suspected of abducting girls and holding them in a Central Texas cabin killed himself when authorities stopped him Friday. His most recent victim was safe and being reunited with her family, officials said.

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A sheriff's deputy stopped Gary Dale Cox, 48, in his vehicle about six miles outside Kerrville. Cox got out, holding a pistol, while 11-year-old Leah Henry of Houston bolted from the passenger side, said FBI spokeswoman Sheila Thorne in Slidell, La.

Cox then shot himself in the head, Thorne said.

Leah was being examined at a Kerrville hospital while her parents traveled to meet her.

"She doesn't sound her confident self, but she's OK," the girl's mother, Linda Henry, said before leaving Houston. "She's talking and she sounded very timid, perhaps scared — maybe exhausted. But she's talking."

Houston police Lt. G. Mason said law enforcement officials had narrowed their search for Cox based on computer background checks and a traffic stop in Hondo a couple of months ago.

"We had already come up with his name and had associated him with that case and were working on it at the time the deputy stopped him and he committed suicide," Mason said.

Cox's criminal record in Texas shows one sexual offense involving a child in 1989, and at least four more involving girls ages 12 to 14 in 1992-95. He spent three years in prison and registered in 1999 as a sex offender in Montgomery County, records state.

After he disappeared from a Houston halfway house in March 2000, a warrant was issued for his arrest, according to records. He had been listed as a missing sex offender since last year.



This is a Texas Dept. of Public Safety file photo of Gary Dale Cox, 48, a convicted child sex offender suspected of abducting girls and holding them in a Central Texas cabin. Cox killed himself when authorities stopped him Friday, May 4, 2001 near Kerville, Texas. His most recent victim was safe, an FBI official said.

Associated Press Photo

After Leah disappeared Tuesday, federal agents and police began identifying similarities between her disappearance and that of two other girls who eventually were set free.

Nykema Augustine, 9, of San Antonio was abducted in March, while 11-year-old Lisa Bruno was lured from outside her Slidell home in April.

Both girls were playing at their apartment complexes when they were approached by a man described as potbellied with light brown hair who asked for help.

Both were whisked away and held captive for days: Lisa in a locked room at an unknown location for almost two weeks; Nykema for five days in a boarded-up cabin about a two-hour drive from San Antonio, authorities said.

Lisa reappeared Sunday at a bus station in New Orleans after her abductor released her in Lafayette and bought her a bus ticket home. Nykema's kidnapper dropped her off about a block from her apartment.

Based on highway signs the girls said they saw and the amount of time they spent in their abductor's car, law enforcement officials deduced they had been in the San Antonio area. They began searching Thursday and Friday for a cabin or shack near Seguin.

Leah apparently was being held in a deer hunting camp in Kerr County, about 70 miles northwest of Seguin, in what the sheriff described as a rugged, brushy area.

"We had a tip on the suspect vehicle, and when the officers checked, it was the suspect and the girl," said Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer. "The little girl is safe and sound, and the suspect is deceased, and that's all I can say at this time."

The case also may have turned on the suspect's vehicle, identified by a number of witnesses, described as a white or light gray hatchback. Thorne confirmed that the vehicle found Friday was the one in question, although repainted and carrying a different license plate.

"The main thing is this child is safe and the individual is dead," Slidell police Chief Ben Morris said. "The perpetrator is in the hands of God and hopefully he has washed his hands of him and put him where he belongs."
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Ghost of Christmas Past.. By Jeff Shapiro - by Summer Dawn - 03-26-2017, 10:30 AM
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