Justice system let Texas woman down before killing, family says

The family of Marissa Grimes, whose body was found under a Fort Worth home after police alleged she was beaten to death by a man who had previously abused her, said Tuesday that neither her father nor the criminal justice system could not save the 26-year-old. mother of two young children.

Fort Worth attorney Christy Jack, who is the family’s spokesperson, said several mistakes were made after Grimes escaped from Valerian “Will” Osteen, accused of holding her against her will for several days in January. Osteen was arrested for domestic violence.

“A number of mistakes were made after this point,” Jack said in the statement. “We can’t undo what happened to Marissa, but as of now, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office has the opportunity to do the right thing.”

Osteen was released from jail on bail in January and is now charged with killing Grimes and burying his body under his house.

The 24-year-old Fort Worth man told detectives he denied knowing Grimes’ whereabouts and did not harm him.

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Marissa Grimes was reported missing after she was last seen by her family on February 12, 2022. Her body was found on February 23, 2022 under a house in Fort Worth. Courtesy of the family of Marissa Grimes

Grimes died of blunt-force traumatic brain injury, according to a ruling released Monday by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office website. His death was ruled a homicide.

Grimes managed to escape from Osteen in January after being accused of refusing her to leave her home for several days, during which he repeatedly pointed a gun at her and threatened to kill her, documents show. judicial.

Jack told WFAA-TV that Osteen took Grimes home after the two met at a party on Jan. 9.

At one point, Grimes managed to send a short text message to her father asking for help, and Fort Worth police later located her.

Jack told the WFAA that Grimes’ message to his dad read, “No cops, don’t answer,” which was his way of saying, “I need help.”

But Osteen was released from Tarrant County Jail within days with a GPS ankle monitor after posting $5,000 bond, according to his arrest warrant.

The low bail amount was criticized by Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson, his second such statement in as many days.

Wilson released a statement on Saturday criticizing the bail amount set by a judge, which allowed a suspect with a violent background to be released from jail and commit another crime against his victim.

The district attorney’s office “has requested that he be held without bond in the future due to his new offenses committed while on bail for domestic violence offenses,” according to Saturday’s statement.

Marissa Grimes “was abused by Valerian ‘Will’ Osteen – a convicted felon with a long criminal history,” Jack said in Tuesday’s statement. “Osteen held Marissa against her will and prevented her from escaping in January.”

Jack said “every parent wants to believe they can protect their child”.

“That’s especially true when it comes to a father and daughter,” Jack said. “Despite Daryl Grimes’ best efforts, he couldn’t save Marissa and neither could the criminal justice system.”

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Marissa Grimes is pictured in a family photo with her two children. A family spokesperson said the criminal justice system had failed Marissa, who police say was killed by a man after he was released from prison for allegedly abusing her. Courtesy of the Grimes family

Grimes’ family have reported her missing after being unable to contact her since February 12. On Feb. 21, police found his U-Haul abandoned on Lake Como Drive, about a mile from Osteen’s home on Locke Avenue in west Fort Worth, according to the warrant. Officers went to his home, but he did not answer the door.

GPS data showed Osteen was near where the U-Haul was found, the warrant says. According to the data, it appears that Osteen drove the truck there and then walked home.

Police served a search warrant at the home on February 22 and found the entrance to a crawl space in a bedroom closet. Officers looked into the crawl space and saw a mound of dirt and smelled decay, the arrest warrant states.

Police obtained a second warrant to search the crawl space on February 23 and found Grimes’ body.

The arrest warrant for Osteen noted that another woman reported on February 17 that she had been held by Osteen against her will at her home. She said she was assaulted by Osteen, who threatened to kill her with a handgun, according to the warrant.

The woman also reported seeing blood in the house, which Osteen claimed was from a man he tortured for fun.

At that time, Osteen claimed to be a member of the Russian mob and said he would have a shootout with the police, according to the warrant.

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Fort Worth Police Detectives believe there may be more surviving victims assaulted by Valerian Osteen and ask them to contact Detective J. Cedillo at 817-392-4337. Osteen has been arrested on suspicion of capital murder in the death of Marissa Grimes. Courtesy of Tarrant County Jail

Detectives believe there may be more surviving victims assaulted by Osteen and instruct them to contact Detective J. Cedillo at 817-392-4337.

“The Grimes family’s prayer is that this defendant be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Jack said, speaking on behalf of the family. “And that he receive the maximum sentence allowed by law.”

This story was originally published March 1, 2022 10:33 a.m.

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Star-Telegram reporter Domingo Ramirez Jr. has been in journalism for over 35 years. It’s the job he’s loved since day one.