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Victim's family has mixed feelings after accused murderer indictment

WEST, TX (KXXV) - An indictment has left mixed feelings for a West family of a woman killed in April. 

David Zahirniak was indicted Wednesday by a McLennan County Grand Jury of murder and two counts of indecency with a child. The second charge was for a case back in 2008. Now the alleged murder victim's family says the second charge should have been dealt with years before.

"If there was ever such a thing as hell on Earth, this is it," the victim's uncle Michael Reed said. 

According to court records, Zahirniak was arrested for two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child in 2008. The previous McLennan County District Attorney's Office never pursued the charges and the file was buried in archives. However, the new DA's office is now pursuing charges. 

In April 2014, Zahirniak was arrested again for the murder of 20-year-old Caitlyn Reed. The McLennan County Sheriff's Office says Zahirniak shot and killed her at a home on Tokio Road and then told authorities she killed herself. He was then arrested a month later. 

Three months later, after Zahirniak was indicted, Michael Reed and Caitlyn's family says they wish the sexual assault case would've been pursued in 2008. They believe it could have prevented Caitlyn's death.

"I feel like if somebody would've done their job back in 2008, I wouldn't go through this hell right now," Michael Reed said. 

Ernestine Goates, Caitlyn's mother-in-law, says she found out about the 2008 charge nearly a year before. For ten months she checked the indictments list on the county's website every other week to see if he was charged. 

"So it's just been a long and frustrating road that ultimately ended in her death which we feel was a needless death," Goates said. 

When it did appear Wednesday, she said she jumped for joy. After seeing the second charge after the murder, though, she says she didn't feel as happy. 

"If it had been given attention to back then he would've been in jail and Caitlyn wouldn't be dead," Goates said. 

The family of the boy and girl allegedly assaulted in 2008 also say they're happy for the indictment, but sad it came too late. That's because the children's father died of a terminal illness Tuesday night before the indictment was released. They say he just wanted to see justice done for his children.

Caitlyn also leaves behind two boys, a 2 and 3-year-old. Goates and Michael Reed say they're focus now is make sure they remember their mother and make sure they're taken care of. 

Moving on they're also looking forward to a trial, where they hope Caitlyn and the boys' father can see justice. 

"I lost not only my sister but my best friend. And I want him to pay. I want him to go to trial and want him to have to sit there every day and see a picture of her, because that's all I got," Caitlyn's sister Emile Smith said. 

Zahirniak was also charged in late March for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The Sheriff's Office says he tried to run an ambulance that Caitlyn was in, off the road. Caitlyn's family says they're waiting for him to be indicted for that as well. 

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said he would not comment on a pending case.
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