Wanted murder suspect captured 30 years later

For more than 30 years the murder case of a young Austin mother remained in limbo. Her presumed killer was believed to be hiding out in Mexico. Now he is in jail to the immense relief of the family who thought they may never see justice.        

"Words we have waited a long time to hear,” said Beverly Casaubon, sister murdered.

Three decades they have waited. In that time T.J. Coffey and Beverly Casaubon have lost both of their parents and watched a niece go through her entire life without ever knowing her mother.

"We just kept hoping somebody would stumble onto something or he would get caught,” said T.J. Coffey.

On September 20th, 1983, the body of 22-year-old Laurie Stout was found inside a building she was cleaning on South 1st Street in Austin. A FOX 7 reporter who was at the scene back then said Stout was attacked in a stall on the second floor men’s room. Toilet paper was stuffed down her throat and over her nose and she was strangled.

Police tied the murder to UT student Robert Van Wisse. Officers say he was registering for a course in the building the night prior to stout's body being found. In 1996 he was charged with murder. He was later indicted, but he could not be found.

Stout's mother was relentless in her attempts to find him.

Read Austin murder suspect added to FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list

"Every day, every waking hour, she had files and notebooks and papers,” said Coffey. “A few days before she passed all she was worried about was are we going to get him, are we going to get him before she passed away.”

In December Van Wisse was added to the FBI's top 10 most wanted list. Investigators put billboards in the U.S. and Mexico, advertised on social media and TV, even offered a $100 thousand dollar reward for his capture.

"It was that incredible pressure that was brought to bear that Van Wisse saw he was never going to be able to run away, that he was going to have to turn himself in and he did,” said FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs.

On Thursday Van Wisse met authorities at the U.S. port of entry in Laredo and surrendered. He was then driven back to Austin and booked into jail.

"They got him, they got him,” said Coffey.

Read 'Ten Most Wanted' Fugitive wanted for murder in Austin arrested

While Stout's brother and sister have precious memories of her, "She was my best friend. She was our keeper and protector for many years."

Stout's daughter has only photos.

"He took away identity,” said Daile Stout. "As an adult it's something that hits when you're doing things that normally your parents would be there and she's not there and so that's what I continue to struggle with."

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories