Texas veterinarian charged with murder for hire ends own life

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Dr. Valerie Busick McDaniel, the 48-year-old owner of a small animal hospital in Houston, leapt from her parents’ seventh-floor condominium to her death March 27 while awaiting trial for allegedly plotting the murders of her ex-husband and her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.

Inside her parents’ condominium, where Dr. McDaniel was living while free on bail, police reportedly found a note with the veterinarian’s final wishes and sealed letters addressed to her family.

According to The Montrose Veterinary Clinic website, Dr. McDaniel received her DVM degree from Texas A&M University in 1997 and had owned the clinic since 2000.

Dr. McDaniel and her boyfriend, 39-year-old Leon Jacob, were arrested in a sting March 10. Police say the couple had hired a third party to retain the services of a hit man to kill their former partners. The third party instead alerted police, who worked with the intended targets to stage their murders.

When an undercover police officer posing as the hit man showed Dr. McDaniel and Jacob photos of the fabricated murder scenes, they allegedly tried paying him $20,000. The couple was taken into custody, each charged with solicitation to commit capital murder. Dr. McDaniel was released on a $50,000 bond while Jacob remained in the Harris County, Texas, jail without bond.

Dr. McDaniel and her ex-husband had an 8-year-old daughter together. The ex-husband reportedly feared for his safety and was in the process of obtaining a protective order against Dr. McDaniel when she killed herself. They had been scheduled to appear in court the day after her death.

Police do not suspect foul play in Dr. McDaniel’s death.