Disturbing new discoveries in the Texas murders

The glut of modern true crime is, at its core, a depressing reflection on a world steeped in cruelty and injustice. Not surprisingly, then, Crime scene: Texas Killing Fields is a portrait of a series of baffling murder cases and the endless misery they caused the families and loved ones of the victims, who never gave up on the search for the truth.

Joe Berlinger, Imagine Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer’s latest Netflix series (after last year’s Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer), director Jessica Dimmock’s three-part investigation is notable for its heartbreaking portrayal of those left to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the tragedy, which all took place on a stretch of highway heading south from Houston.

“If you want to commit a crime, do it here, because they sure can’t solve it,” Tim Miller laments about League City, Texas, and the I-45 corridor that runs through it. Eleven girls went missing and/or were killed there between 1971 and 1977. Unfortunately, those unsolved stories are just the context of Tim’s own ordeal, which began on September 10, 1984, when his 16-year-old daughter, Laura, never returned. Make a call to a public payphone.

Despite Tim’s desperate attempts to find her and force the cops to do something, his efforts are in vain. The police dismiss Laura as just a fugitive and tell Tim to wait for her to call her. Tim – who was new to the neighborhood – did no such thing, and soon learned of a similar missing girl who had disappeared around the same payphone: 25-year-old Heidi Fay, whose remains were found in April 1984 by a dog emerging from the woods and in His mouth is a human skull.

It would be a long 17 months before Laura was discovered – shockingly, in the same area of ​​Calder Road where Heidi was dumped, and where Tim unsuccessfully tried to get law enforcement to do a more thorough sweep. Even worse, she was lying beside a third victim, who had a 22-caliber bullet lodged in her spine and which police failed to identify, describing her as Jane Doe.

Due to the heat and humidity of this area, which became known as the Texas Killing Fields, none of the bodies offered much physical evidence. As a result, the investigations cast a wide net and collected little. However, that doesn’t mean that Tim and others haven’t set their eyes on certain individuals, starting with Clyde Hendrick, a “Casanova conman” and roofer who arrived in Houston as part of the immigration the city brought about. The building boom of the 1970s and 1980s.

Clyde clashes with the mother of a woman who here identifies herself as Marla, who tells a disturbing story of Clyde’s intimidating and predatory behavior towards her, including holes in her bedroom wall, indecent exposure, and drug molestation. Turns out that was only half of it. Marla’s father obtains Clyde’s lengthy criminal record, which reveals that he was convicted of “abusing a corpse”—that is, the body of Ellen Beeson, who disappeared in July 1984 after visiting the same bar, Texas Moon, where Heidi worked.

Clyde dumps Eileen’s body and hides it in a garbage heap in the middle of nowhere, and claims he did it out of panic after she inexplicably drowned while swimming for the night. Although his guilt seemed very clear, without evidence he ended up serving one year behind bars and paying a $2,000 fine.

Clyde was a top suspect in the Texas Killing Fields killings, and that didn’t change when a fourth victim was found on the exact same plot of land on September 8, 1991. The League City Police Department under mounting pressure ended up nabbing the perpetrator, and came to believe they had found one. , courtesy of an FBI profile that matches a local: Robert William Appel, a former NASA scientist who owned the killing fields, part of which has been turned into horse stables.

Abel’s desire to interfere with the investigation made him look even shadier, and Tim decided he was the villain they were all looking for – and in response, he embarked on an intense campaign to prove it. This endeavor, unfortunately, turns out to be improbable, to Tim’s lasting shame, and has only exacerbated the grief and pain that gripped his soul, prompting him to create Texas EquuSearch (a non-profit missing persons collective) and continue the search for answers regarding Laura’s death.

Tim’s angry grief—over his loss, his helplessness, and the mistakes he believes he made in the aftermath of Laura’s death—is evident in his on-camera interviews, and is complemented by the testimony of 12-year-old Guy Smither. Her daughter, Laura, disappeared in nearby Friendswood on April 3, 1997.

Because she was a young girl from a well-to-do family in one of the safest places in America, Laura’s disappearance spurred the police and citizens into action, and her body was eventually found. However, two other young women – Kelly Ann Cox and Jessica Cain – disappeared without a trace. As Jay admits, “Killing Laura is our life sentence too,” underlining the unbearable pain and suffering of losing a child in such a gruesome way, and then receiving few satisfying resolutions.

Crime scene: Texas Killing Fields And so it becomes a wide-ranging study of female victimization, parental woe, systemic indifference and incompetence—the last of which is highlighted by examples of police failures to preserve evidence, effectively follow up on leads, or show the requisite amount of care and empathy. Director Dimmock tells this horror story in an indirect way that mirrors the plights of Tim, Jay, and others, offering wrenching commentary about the depths of their own grief and anger, as well as their frustration with the law enforcement departments that have failed them time and time again.

In the end, Crime scene: Texas Killing Fields He reveals that many of these wretched people have achieved at least some measure of justice – thanks to the revelation of who killed their girls – but the lingering feeling it stirs up is more akin to despair than hope.

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