Man charged with first-degree murder in Cayce McDaniel case after 23 years

Updated: Oct. 22, 2019 at 5:19 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For the past 23 years, Cayce McDaniel's loved ones have searched for answers.

The 14-year-old was last seen August 1996 after she was dropped off at her home in Milan, Tennessee, by a family friend. Her mother discovered she was missing August 17, 1996.

Tuesday morning, more than two decades after she went missing, investigators announced a major development.

Finis Hill, 68, also known as “Pete Hill” was charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of aggravated rape in connection to the case.

Finis Hill is facing rape and first-degree murder charges. (Source: WMC)
Finis Hill is facing rape and first-degree murder charges. (Source: WMC)(WMC)

"Our worst thoughts and fears are being realized. They’re real and this happened. I think we all imagined what probably happened, but reading the charges and seeing everything makes it really and it’s very unsettling,” Lindsey McDaniel, Cayce’s cousin, told WMC Action News 5 Tuesday.

Lindsey says her family is beyond grateful, but they still have unanswered questions. Cayce McDaniel’s body has never been found.

"We just want justice to be served. Whatever that means. Whatever that looks like,” said McDaniel.

According to family, Hill was known to them. Police identified him as a suspect in McDaniel’s disappearance in July of last year after he was arrested for allegedly traveling from Tennessee to Mississippi with the purpose of raping an underage girl.

Hill had previously served time for attempted kidnapping and aggravated assault.

Brandon Barnett featured McDaniel’s case on several episodes of his podcast, ‘Searching for Ghosts.’ He says Hill’s name came up in interviews for the show.

Suspect named in 1996 disappearance of 14-year-old Cayce McDaniel

"We made no accusations either way in the podcast, but everything pointed to him in just us doing it,” said Barnett, over the phone.

Barnett hopes Tuesday’s indictment announcement starts to bring closure to a case that’s haunted so many for so long.

"For the family especially they can heal, maybe, now and the community can maybe sleep a little better at night,” said Barnett.

Hill is in federal custody on an unrelated sex crime involving a minor. He’s being held without bond. His next court date has not been announced.

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