Houston News & Search
Photo: Godofredo A. Vasquez
A prominent Montrose veterinarian accused of making an intricate murder-for-hire plot to kill her ex-husband killed herself Monday morning by jumping from her seventh-floor condo in west Houston, authorities said.
Veterinarian Valerie Busick McDaniel and her boyfriend, Leon Phillip Jacob, were arrested earlier this month after doling out $20,000 in cash and two pricey Cartier watches to an officer posing as a hitman, prosecutors alleged in court.
Days later, the 48-year-old Montrose veterinarian was released on $50,000 bail.
Afterward, McDaniel’s ex-husband – the target of the scheme – said he feared for his safety.
McDaniel and her husband, who divorced last year, have an 8-year-old daughter together.
A Houston homicide detective at McDaniel’s condo on Friday said the woman who apparently had jumped to her death was a resident whose parents also live there.
Sources confirmed to the Houston Chronicle that the victim was McDaniel.
Later in the day, a supervisor at the Harris County medical examiner’s office confirmed that the office has McDaniel’s body, and the district attorney’s office confirmed that McDaniel had jumped to her death.
Detective J.P. Villareal said police found the body in the courtyard area between the building and its pool after a building employee called 911 shortly before 11 a.m. Monday.
There were no witnesses, Villareal said, and no one else was home at the time. Police do not suspect foul play.
McDaniel was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday before state District Judge Jim Wallace for a status update on her criminal case. She also was on the docket this week in family court because her ex-husband filed a temporary restraining order against her after the allegations surfaced.
More about McDaniel: Murder-for-hire suspect likened to ‘angel on Earth’
Paramedics from the Houston Fire Department and Houston Police Department officers responded to the scene at 10:45 a.m., according to an HPD spokesman.
At 1:15 p.m. investigators from the medical examiner’s office and HPD ducked under the crime-scene tape to inspect the scene near the building’s pool. Forensic investigators stretched boots over their shoes before entering the bloody area.
Investigators retrieved her body about 2:30 p.m. from the garden area between the swimming pool and the building, an upscale 15-story condominium complex in River Oaks where McDaniel lived with her parents on the seventh floor.
Family members including McDaniel’s mother appeared in front of the building as visitors arrived, embracing one another.
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