MILAN, Tenn. — A Milan man has been indicted in the murder and aggravated rape of 14-year-old Cayce Lynn McDaniel more than 20 years ago.
Finis “Pete” Hill was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated rape after authorities said he abducted the girl from her home on the night of August 16, 1996.
“It’s something I’ve been wanting to see happen for a long time,” Milan Police Chief Bobby Sellers said.
Sellers was working the day McDaniel’s family reported her missing in 1996. Back then he was a 911 dispatcher.
The night of August 16th, authorities said McDaniel attended a back-to-school dance at her church. She was later dropped off at her home and disappeared sometime overnight. She was reported missing the next day by her mother, Cindy McDaniel.
“She’s never been forgotten,” Cindy McDaniel told WREG in an interview in 2018. “She’ll never be forgotten.”
Her body was never found and no arrests were ever made.
Milan police reignited their investigation around the 20-year anniversary of her disappearance. In July 2018, police publicly named Hill, a family friend, as a suspect, adding he had been one since McDaniel disappeared.
“His name had come up about being in certain places where McDaniel was and her family, so he’s kind of been on the radar of law enforcement for a long time.”
Several months later, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched McDaniel’s former home for more than three hours using new technology to test for evidence that could help them find out what happened to the teen. Police said a lot of the home, including the floorboards and wall panels, are the same as when the girl disappeared in 1996.
Now, Hill has been indicted for the teen’s rape and murder.
Hill is already in federal custody on an unrelated sex crime involving a minor. Chief Sellers wouldn’t offer specific details about why they’re connecting Hill to Cayce’s murder, but he said his office is confident with their case. They’re still asking for the public’s help finding her body.
“One of our goals is still to find her and bring her back so her family can have a proper burial,” Sellers said.
A date for Hill’s arraignment on the new indictment has not yet be set.