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Gone Cold | Belton police close 8-year-old unsolved murder case after prime suspect dies

Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis said they were able to close the case because the prime suspect, Jeremy Seiter, died around May this year.

BELTON, Texas — The Belton Police Department announced Wednesday that it closed a 2014 cold case on the murder of 62-year-old John Hill.

During a news conference, Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis said they were able to close the case because the prime suspect, Jeremy Seiter, died around May this year. Following his death, family members came forward and told police Seiter confessed to killing Hill to several friends and family members, Ellis said.

"Throughout this investigation and the many years our goal has always been to bring justice to the Hill family ... Today we formally announce that the closing of this case as a murder investigation but without an arrest," Ellis said.

Ellis said Seiter had been their prime suspect throughout the investigation but they never had enough evidence to make an arrest. He did say they were able to close the case because of the new information provided by Seiter's family.

"John Hill was actually killed by the person who we had always believed to be our main suspect... not enough evidence was ever brought to bring formal charges against Jeremy. We were always there just not enough to kick it across the finish line," he said. "Following his death, some members of his family came forward with enough information that we believe made it conclusive that Jeremy has killed John Hill."

Hill was killed in Dec. 19, 2014. Police performed a welfare check and he was found lying face down in a pool of blood in his apartment in the 800 block of W. Avenue I.

The cause of his death was from blunt force trauma to the back of his head, an autopsy revealed.

Ellis said Belton PD remained in constant communication with Hill's family throughout the years and "exhausted every avenue possible to bring charges."

During the news conference, the chief laid out a timeline of the progress and evidence in the case:

  • Dec. 19, 2014: Hill's body was discovered inside his apartment, which appeared "neat and clean, nothing appeared to be destroyed or damage, no weapons were located. Hill's cell phone was located near his body
  • Surveillance video from Dec. 16, 2014 showed Hill visited a pharmacy; also made three calls with Seiter
  • March 16, 2015: Seiter was arrested on unrelated charges and detectives interviewed him. Seiter admitted to knowing Hill and buying prescriptions from him, but said he didn't have anything to do with Hill's death, Ellis said
  • Oct. 23, 2015: Seiter was arrested again on unrelated charges, but again denied killing Hill. He did admit to buying pills from Hill the day he died and  also admitted admitting to parking his company truck in front of his house. He refused to take a polygraph test
  • May 22, 2022: Seiter died in a Belton motel.
  • Around May 22, 2022: Belton PD received calls afterword from his family. Members said Seiter confessed to many friends and family about killing Hill

Ellis said other evidence included cell phone data from Seiter's phone. Around the time of the murder, Seiter's phone was shown to be within 100 feet of Hill's residence, he said. He added that his semi-truck's GPS also placed Seiter's vehicle in the general area of Hill's home around the time of his death.

Ellis said Seiter also altered his truck driver logs to indicate he was somewhere else in the state at the time of the murder.

"Throughout this investigation, we never gave up, never let up, pursued every angle, sent many different things for DNA testing, some advanced testing that did not produce evidence we always hoped for. We met with the District Attorney's office a few times just to share evidence if we were there yet, but never quite enough to get the formal charges," Ellis said. "It was after Mr. Seiter's death that we got what we needed to, definitely proved that he was the one who killed John Hill."

Ellis concluded that police believe he died because of a disagreement over prescription pills.

Watch the full conference below.

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