Right off the Interstate often called the “Highway of Hell,” is what has become known as the “Texas Killing Field” because it has become a prime dumping ground for bodies. Authorities first thought it was all the work of one serial killer throughout the 1970s, but decades have brought the discoveries of over 30 bodies in this isolated patch of land marked by abandoned oil fields and marshes. Who is responsible or where these many of these heinous murders took place remains unsolved, the only known connection is that they ended in the Texas Killing Field.
It Began With 13-Year-Old Colette WilsonDaily Mail
The sinister reputation of this stretch of land was born in June of 1971, after 13-year-old Colette Wilson vanished from a bus stop after band practice. Colette was missing for five months before her body was found in what became known as the Killing Fields. She died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
Two Weeks Later, 14-Year-Old Brenda Jones Was TakenDaily Mail
On July 1,1971, just two weeks after Colette’s disappearance, another girl, 14-year-old Brenda Jones disappeared. She was heading over to the hospital to visit a sick family member and was never seen alive again. Her body was found floating in Galveston Bay, like Colette, she was killed by a head wound.
The Disappearances Continued To Climb Throughout the 1970sUnsolved Mysteries
On August 4, 1971, Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw also vanished from Galveston, Texas, and on October 28, 1971, Gloria Gonzales just dropped off the face of the earth on. Her corpse was discovered 35-yards from where Colette Wilson was found. Soon many more young girls would be found in that same area.
By The End Of The '70s, 11 Teenage Girls Were Found In The Killing FieldDaily Mail
12-year-old Alison Craven, and friends Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson who were both 15-years-old, were all murdered and left in the Texas Killing Field. The girls were all naked from the waist down, their hands and feet had been bound and they were shot in the head before being dumped in the same area. Police were sure they had a serial killer on their hands. These horrific murders continued with a total of 11 teenage and adolescent girls murdered and dumped here throughout the 1970s.
The Investigation Was Going NowhereKathryn Casey.com
These cases were a nightmare for everyone involved, people rightfully demanded answers and police had very little to go on. They were desperate to make an arrest. Tragically, the wave of murders in the 1970s went mostly unsolved. There was only one conviction in relation to the killing field murders. Michael Lloyd Self, was believed to have killed a girl named Sharon Shaw in 1971.
Unfortunately, there was no way to tie him to the other murders and the evidence they had was flimsy at best, all they had was a coerced confession. It’s now widely believed that he didn’t actually do it, he may have been a killer, but he wasn’t the killer they were looking for. Michael died in prison without ever being exonerated for the murders and police now believe he was in fact framed by two corrupt police officers.
The Confession Of Edward Harold BellDaily Mail
In 1996, a man named Edward Harold Bell, (who already locked up for an unrelated murder), bragged in a letter about killing 11 girls in Galveston County back in the 1970s—calling them his “11 that went to Heaven.” However, there was never any physical evidence connecting him to any of the murders other than his confession. Considering he also confessed to being involved in a secret governmental brainwashing program, which had forced him to be a killer and a rapist.
Another Wave Hit The Field Throughout The 1980sOnly In Your State
The 1980s weren’t any tamer, another decade of Killing Field horrors began flooding in with the discovery of 12-year-old Brooks Bracewell and her friend 14-year-old Georgia Geer. Both had gone missing while visiting a local convenience store.
Authorities were shocked to find this new batch of murdered girls and young women showing up in the fields, were all killed differently than the murders in the 1970s. It appeared that multiple killers had decided to use the Texas Killing Field as their dumping grounds as well.
By the time bodies were discovered in that vast stretch of marsh and brush, much of the evidence is ruined. More and more bodies were piling up and many of those murders were going unsolved. Often the ones that did get solved, were usually years later due to freak breaks in the case.
It Took Police 26 Years To Solve The Murder Of 13-Year-Old Krystal Jean BakerDaily Mail
In 1986, the battered body of 13-year-old Krystal Jean Baker, great grand niece of Norma Jean Baker (aka Marilyn Monroe), was discovered under one of the nearby interstate bridges. She had been raped, beaten, and strangled to death. It took 26 years for her killer to finally be brought to justice. After being arrested on an unrelated charge in Louisiana, Kevin Edison Smith had a DNA test that ended up matching the stains on Krystal’s dress and underwear. He was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life without parole.
The 45-year-old monster only escaped the death penalty because investigators thought he'd been involved in other unsolved murders that occurred along a 50-mile stretch between Houston and Galveston, also known as the 'Highway of Hell.'
Laura Miller's Case Tragically Remains UnsolvedDaily Mail
One of the more famous unsolved cases is Laura Miller, she was only 16 when she vanished on September 10, 1984. The last place she was seen was a store that just so happened to be the last place 23-year-old Hiede Faye was seen before her body was discovered in the old oil field section of the Killing Fields.
Laura’s father, Tim Miller, didn’t feel law enforcement was handling the investigation properly. He’d constantly check in on them, demanding they go check the field where Hiede Faye was found. They didn’t and they wouldn’t. Laura Miller was accidentally found in the fields by children and Tim Miller has spent over 30-years trying to find the man who brutalized his daughter. He even rented out the 25-acre patch of the area where Laura's body was found so he could search for clues himself.
Jessica Cain’s Disappearance Remains UnsolvedDaily Mail
More murders and disappearances would follow throughout the 1990s. Some victims were shot, some strangled, or brutally beaten to death. There was no pattern, no connection other than the field itself. One of the most well-known cases during the 90s is the disappearance of 17-year-old Jessica Cain. She vanished mysteriously on August 17, 1997, her pickup truck was found abandoned on the side of I-45 but she was never located. Another string of murders had occurred in the area around the time Jessica disappeared, because of that, it’s strongly believed she was murdered, but her ultimate fate remains unknown.
Only two weeks before Jessica disappearance, a 12-year-old name Laura Smither also vanished while out for a jog. Her nude, decomposing, and decapitated body was found 17 days later.
The Texas Killing Field Remains A Place Of NightmaresTrailers.Apple.com
It’s impossible for police to monitor every square inch of these massive fields. The environment is eerie even without knowing its history. It is literally the best-known place in the entire country to dump a body–and that’s according to law enforcement professionals. It’s easy to access, a quick jump off of I-45, pick a dirt road and there you have it, you’ll come out to a marsh, or heavily wooded area, or complete nothingness. It’s a 25-mile uninhabited wasteland about a mile off the Interstate and is a place of nightmares—brutal murders, vicious rapes, and beatings, so much blood has soaked into this soil. The Texas Killing Field has been home to so many horrific crimes, it’s as if the land itself is now some insidious evil.