Odessa Catholic Priest Murder From 1981 Reopened As Cold Case
The case was initially closed after the confession of a man in the suit, but now new questions have come up about the guilt of the man that was convicted in the case.
Father Patrick Ryan was murdered in an Odessa hotel in December 1981 and James Harry Reyos was convicted of the murder after he confessed to the murder in New Mexico while he was intoxicated, a confession he later recanted.
But questions of Reyos' guilt have been surfacing for a few years now and in 2021 Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke reviewed the case.
After that review even more serious questions about Reyos' guilt came up and Odessa Police Department decided to reopen the case.
Odessa Police said that corroborative evidence did not match the confession and a review of the case showed evidence that Reyos could not have been present at the time of the crime.
Latent fingerprints that were found at the crime scene turned out not to be those of Reyos.
The case review also found that his known whereabouts during the crime led "investigators to believe that another party (or parties) committed this murder."
Odessa Police Department gave their findings to the Ector County District Attorney's Office, who conducted their own review of the case, and "both agencies agree that there is compelling doubt to James Harry Reyos' guilt in this case," according to an OPD press release.
The case has been reopened as a cold case and has been assigned to the cold case detective.