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New details released in murder-for-hire plot and suicide

HOUSTON - How does a prominent, respected Houston veterinarian turn into a woman prosecutors say agreed to pay to have her ex-husband killed and how then does that same woman decide to take her own life by jumping off her River Oaks high rise?

To try and answer those questions we have to go back to 2014.

That's the year Valerie McDaniel filed for divorce from her husband claiming he had been unfaithful. The attorney who represented McDaniel through it all was Leon Jacob's mother.

It would take nearly 2 years to finalize the divorce. Documents show the legal battle was contentious. McDaniel demanded she receive "a disproportionate share of the parties' estate."

They tussled in court over $3.2 million in assets. At the heart of the dispute was who would keep the Montrose Vet Clinic, a home on Tiki Island and multiple high end cars.

When it was finally settled in 2016, McDaniel kept her clinic and paid her ex-husband a total of $1.25 million dollars.

The one thing the couple never fought over was custody of their daughter but that all changed in mid-March after McDaniel's arrest.

McDaniel's ex-husband filed an emergency order for custody of their daughter.

In court documents, Mack McDaniel told the court: "I was informed by HPD that Valerie McDaniel in conjunction with her paramour Leon Jacob arranged for my murder... for the safety and welfare of (child) I am requesting the court exclude Valerie from access to (child)."

McDaniel was released on bond and began filing paperwork to fight to regain custody of her daughter.

On the very day McDaniel jumped to her death, she was supposed to appear in court at a hearing where it's likely she would have lost sole custody of her daughter.

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