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Woman Had Rented U-Haul Truck to Leave Area Before Domestic Abuser Murdered Her, Hid Body in Crawl Space: Authorities

Booking photo of Valerian Osteen.

Valerian Osteen.

A murder victim had rented U-Haul to leave the area, but her domestic abuser killed her before she could go, according to authorities in a Fort Worth Star-Telegram report. Texas defendant Valerian Osteen, 24, has been behind bars for weeks after he allegedly murdered Marissa Grimes, 26, at a Fort Worth home and hid her body.

According to officials, Grimes and Osteen went to a friend’s residence on Feb. 13. Grimes seemed to have been crying, with Osteen verbally abusing her, and blaming her for his arrest in the domestic violence case.

The woman’s family said they had not seen her since Feb. 12. She was reported missing on Feb. 14.

Police looked at Osteen as a suspect because he was apparently the last person Grimes was with, Fort Worth Police Officer Daniel Segura said, according to KDFW.

Osteen denied knowing where Grimes was, police said. He said he did not hurt her. But officers said they found the missing woman’s U-Haul abandoned about a mile from Osteen’s home on Feb. 21, and authorities said that GPS data showed the suspect was near where the vehicle’s location. They suggested Osteen might have driven it there and walked home.

Cops executed a search warrant at the residence on Feb. 22 and looked in a bedroom closet, where they found the entrance to a crawl space. Officers said they found a mound of dirt, as well as the smell of decomposition. The next day, authorities executed a separate search warrant for the crawl space and discovered Grimes’ body.

Online records from Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s records showed that Grimes died by homicide from blunt force trauma to the head.

Prosecutors originally announced the case over the weekend. Osteen was out on a $10,000 bond for aggravated assault and $5,000 for unlawful restraint for a January incident in which Grimes was the victim. Authorities reportedly said that in this prior attack, Osteen imprisoned Grimes in his home for several days, repeatedly pointed a gun at her, and threatened to kill her.

Another woman reportedly shared a similar account. According to cops, she reported on Feb. 17 that Osteen imprisoned her at his home, and that he threatened to fatally shoot her. He assaulted her, she said. She said that she saw blood in the home, though Osteen claimed it was from a man he tortured for fun. Osteen claimed to belong to the Russian mafia, and that he would shoot it out with the cops.

Police voiced concern there could be more survivors of Osteen’s violent behavior. They ask anyone to call Detective J. Cedillo at (817) 392-4337.

Through an attorney, Marissa’s father Daryl Grimes released a statement saying neither he nor the criminal justice system could save his daughter despite his best efforts. He highlighted Osteen’s extensive criminal history.

“Osteen held Marissa against her will and prevented her escape in January,” attorney Christy Jack wrote. “A number of mistakes were made after that points.”

“We cannot undo what happened to Marissa, but from this moment forward, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office has the opportunity to do the right thing,” she added. “The Grimes family’s prayer is for this defendant to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that he receive the maximum punishment allowed under the law.”

[Booking photo via Tarrant County]

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