Skip to comments.Man charged in area girls' deaths - Collin County prosecutor will seek death penalty
Posted on 05/22/2003 2:38:39 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP
Man charged in area girls' deaths
Ohio child killer suspected in '80s slayings of Christi Meeks, Christie Proctor and Roxann Reyes
Plano police on Wednesday charged a convicted child killer in Ohio with capital murder in connection with the abduction and slayings of three Dallas-area girls more than 15 years ago.
The trail in the strangulation deaths of Christi Lynn Meeks, 5, of Mesquite; Christie Diane Proctor, 9, of Dallas; and Roxann Hope Reyes, 4, of Garland had gone cold.
But police revived the cases by bringing three charges against David Elliot Penton, 45, to Collin County prosecutors.
Three years later, when authorities caught up with Mr. Penton in Ohio, he became a suspect in the Dallas-area slayings because the three Texas girls had died in a fashion similar to the Ohio girl. But at the time, Garland, Plano and Mesquite police said they lacked enough evidence to charge him.
|CHRONOLOGY OF PENTON CASE|
But Mr. Roach said he is confident that grand jurors will return indictments in each of the three slayings.
"And if they do that," he said, "we intend to seek the death penalty."
Family members of the girls said the charges offer hope while recalling their sadness.
"Thank you, Lord," said Linda Meeks, Christi's mother. "It's been a long time coming, a long 18 years. I'm shocked, nervous, scared all rolled into one."
Christi Meeks disappeared during a game of hide-and-seek outside her mother's apartment complex in January 1985 and was found dead less than three months later in Lake Texoma.
Christie Proctor's body was found in a south Plano field in April 1988, more than two years after the fourth-grader was last seen walking from her North Dallas apartment to a friend's house. Police found only shattered pieces of a plastic heart her aunt had given her for Valentine's Day.
Roxann Reyes was snatched from an alley while playing outside her Garland apartment in November 1987. Her body was found six months later in Murphy, just east of Plano.
Investigators at the time said the three girls were sexually assaulted and strangled.
The slaying of Christi Meeks brought national attention to the plight of missing and abducted children. Relatives established the Christi Meeks Foundation for Missing Children, which helped get the girl's picture on billboards, milk cartons and fliers.
The Meeks abduction came when Mr. Penton was awaiting trial in the death of his son.
Dallas Detective Martha Sanders, who investigated Christie Proctor's disappearance, said the charges bring back a "lot of sadness."
"When you devote a lot of time and so much energy ... it's hard on the families and it's hard on the people who worked it."
Detective Sanders told The News in 1993 that Christie's death remains "the most significant case I've worked."
"I felt like I really knew her," the detective said then. "She liked cute, dainty things. She was protective of her brother; she helped take care of him."
Ms. Meeks, who lives in Mesquite, said she suffered an emotional breakdown in the months after her daughter's body was found. She said she buried the horror of the loss so deep "that I had to have my sister show me where Christi's grave was later on."
But, she said, she never gave up hope.
"I just thought, 'If he doesn't get his day here on earth, he'll get it on judgment day when he leaves this earth,' " she said.
Now, 18 years later, Ms. Meeks said her daughter's death might have helped other potential victims.
"In a roundabout way, it helped bring in media attention and public awareness," she said. "It showed that it could happen to anybody. It's not because you didn't watch your child."
'Hurt and relieved'
VERNON BRYANT / DMN
"It is a big relief," said Christi's father, who was divorced from Ms. Meeks at the time of the abduction. "It's something that I've looked forward to for a long time.
"It's affected my son and he's felt guilty about this for so long. It'll be a great comfort for him."
Michael Wayne Meeks declined to talk to investigators after the abduction, but seven months ago he cooperated with authorities who brought in a hypnotist to help him recall the event.
"I think it helped him more than it helped us," Mesquite Detective Mike Bradshaw said last month.
The last 18 years have been torture, Mike Meeks said.
"I haven't been able to do anything right in a long time," he said. "I need this for myself, and I need this for my children. I think it's going to help a lot."
Roxann Reyes' mother, Tamela Reyes Lopez, said the prospect of finding her daughter's killer is a relief.
"I know he's not going to go through the pain like my little girl did or those other two little girls but it's comforting to know he'll get what's coming to him," she said.
After her daughter's body was found 15 years ago this month, Ms. Lopez remarried, and she moved back to her native Ohio late last year. She said her family knew about Mr. Penton for more than 13 years but waited for police to put the case together.
"I've been aware of it for years, but I've been told to say no more right now so it won't spoil the case," she said.
"My mother and stepfather saw this guy's picture in a paper" when he was charged with killing the Ohio girl. "It matched a composite drawing released" by Garland police two years earlier, she said.
"I've waited 15 years for this, and I want this guy put down for what he did."
Said Mr. Roach, the district attorney, "What's important about all of this is that people who abduct and murder our children are not going to be forgotten.
"We're going to hunt them down and prosecute them."
E-mail email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Christi Meeks: no relation to this poster.
But, after having gone through the murder of our neighbor's kindergartener, and the trial, conviction and sentencing, I can tell you there's no such thing as "closure." It's a myth. The pain may ease with time, but it's always there.
Such a loss is painful, alright, I'm sure of that.
Thanks for the info and welcome to FreeRepublic.com ! ;^)
Chrisite Proctor was a cousin of mine. I had only met her about 4 weeks prior to her disappearance at a family reunion. She was a sweet little girl. I have not heard anything on this in a while. Has anyone else? Our families have grown apart and have lost touch over the years.
I haven't heard any more that I recall. Sorry about your cousin.
And welcome to FR.
Here we go again. :)
I could caption it: "Would you like [freedom] fries with that?"
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