SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Grandma Billie was orderly and a stickler for detail.
Her granddaughter talked with her every day on the phone. But in 1982, all that ended. When Wilhelmina Reid didn’t pick up the phone any longer and neighbors hadn’t seen or heard from her police were called in.
In August, 1982, Reid was found inside her home. She was murdered.
Her granddaughter Sandra Solomon-Venezia knew her as Grandma Billie. She still remembers coming to her grandmother’s house that day.
“It was a horrible thing, not only was she a victim but the rest of us were victims,” said Venezia. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think what happened, who did this?”
For 37 years, Venezia kept wondering as her grandmother’s murder turned into a cold case.
But the answer was always nearby.
Bryan Reed was charged with her murder in December 2019. Back then, Reed was visiting his mother but left right after the elderly woman was murdered. But police never questioned him.
During Wednesday’s preliminary hearing for Reed, a Salt Lake City homicide detective who investigated the case in 1982 was on the stand.
Steve Chapman who has since retired from law enforcement said they were aware of Reed but he left for Nebraska.
“We didn’t have a travel budget to go out of state,” Chapman said on the stand.
But he wasn’t asked nor did he offer to explain why police in Nebraska didn’t question him.
“I think they (police) did a poor job,” Venezia said. “I didn’t think they did their job.
But in 2018, DNA linked Reed to the murder after a new group of homicide detectives reopened the cold case.
“The people who have been working on it now have been spending many hours and I’m very happy with what they’ve done,” Venezia said.
Some believe this case served a reminder when cold cases aren’t fully investigated and families seem forgotten.
But according to Venezia, they relive it every day.”
“It affected me for many years,” Venezia said. “You’re scared, you’re wondering who’s out there. How come you’re doing this? You’re frightened for many years.”
But Venezia may finally be finding peace after 38 years. Reed is expected to face a trial after his preliminary hearing is completed Thursday.
MORE OF THE JUSTICE FILES:
- The Justice Files: No new trial for convicted killer
- The Justice Files: Calls for reform in Utah jails
- The Justice Files: Former athlete called a serial date rapist
- The Justice Files: Triad Shooter, 21 years later
- The Justice Files: New DNA lab ready to help solve cold cases