Dumping Ground, Pay Phone, Murder Victims, Metropolitan Area, Convenience Store, Young Women, Female Victims, Houston, Texas, United States Of America, Northern America, North America, America, National Aeronautics And Space Administration, City Oil Field, South Australia, Laura Lynn Miller

Dumping Ground, Pay Phone

The Texas killing fields and the highway of death

Warning: Disturbing content

20/04/2019 5:49:00 PM

Locals call this area “the killing fields” after the bodies of murdered women were dumped near an infamous highway.

Warning: Disturbing content

Jane Doe was identified as Audrey Lee Cook, 30, who vanished in December 1985 and whose remains were found on Calder 3000 in February 1986.The mother of two sons had worked as a mechanic for six years before moving on to dealing cocaine before her death. Her remains were found next to Laura Miller’s.

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Janet Doe was Donna Prudhomme, 34, who vanished in July 1991 and whose remains were found three months later by horseback riders on Calder Road.Neither Ms Cook nor Ms Prudhomme was reported missing by family.The four bodies found on the lonely stretch of land by an oldTexan oilfield have now each been identified.

Source:SuppliedAudrey Lee Cook, left in 1973 and, right, in the mid 1980s when the cocaine dealer was abducted and murdered and dumped in the ‘killing fields’.Source:SuppliedCocktail waitress Heidi Fye went missing and her body was found on the eerie block six months later when a dog was found carrying her skull. headtopics.com

Source:SuppliedDespite suspects being named over the years, police have charged no-one in relation to those four murders.Theories about one or more serial killers operating in this small part of southern coastal Texas have arisen from the linked cases of females who vanished from streets.

Five teenagers were murdered in 1971 and six more between 1974 and 1977; six teens were murdered in pairsBack in 1971, a girl and a young woman, 13-year-old Colette Wilson, and Gloria Gonzales, 19, disappeared and their bodies were found dumped 35m from each other.

Colette, who was from Alvin, 17km south west of Calder 3000, was dropped off on a road in June 1971 and her body was found in late November at Addicks Reservoir in northwest Houston.Donna Prudhomme’s body lay in the Calder killing field.Source:Supplied

Prudhomme, above as a younger women, vanished aged 34 in 1991.Source:SuppliedThe lonely stretch of land to the left of Calder Road where the bodies were found is near the I-45 from which scores of women and girls have been abducted.Source:SuppliedMs Gonzales vanished from near her Houston apartment and her dismembered body was found at Addicks Reservoir, three days before Colette Wilson was found there. headtopics.com

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In June, 1971, Colette Anise Wilson, 13, was dropped off from after summer school band camp at a bus stop.Five months later her naked body was discovered 64km away with a single gunshot wound to the head.In August of the same year two 14-year-old girls, Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw, disappeared after a day at the beach in Galveston.

Six months later, two boys fishing saw a skull floating in Clear Lake, 15km north of the Calder 3000 and both girls’ skeletal remains were recovered.They had been bound at the feet and hands and shot in the back of the head.Although a man, gas station attendant and sex offender Michael Self was convicted of Ms Shaw’s murder, it was later found he was coerced into a false confession by corrupt officers.

Two other men confessed to the murders, including serial killer Edward Harold Bell, however he was never charged.Ms Gonzales's dismembered body was dumped at Addicks Reservoir (above) and found three days before 13-year-old Colette's Wilson's remains were also found there.

Source:SuppliedThe body of Colette Wilson, 13, was found at a reservoir.Source:SuppliedGloria Gonzales was found dumped at the same reservoir.Source:SuppliedSix months after Rhonda Johnson and Susan Shaw vanished from a beach their bound bodies were found in a lake, both having been shot in the head. headtopics.com

Source:SuppliedIn November 1971, three young girls vanished from Houston and Galveston.Allison Craven, 12, disappeared from her mother’s apartment near the I-45 on November 9.Four months later, pieces of her dismembered body were found buried in two places in a field 20km away.

Best friends Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson, both aged 15, were last seen accepting a ride from a man in a white van at an ice cream shop on November 15, 1971.The girls were bound, stripped from the waist down and their bodies were found in Turner’s Bayou, in Texas City between Galveston and League City.

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The girls were friends of Sharon Shaw and Rhonda Johnson, who they knew from a water ski school at Offats Bayou on Galveston Island.In January 1973, 16-year-old Kimberly Rae Pitchford vanished after taking a driving class at Dobie High School, just off the I-45.

She was meant to call her parents to pick her up, but never made the callHer body was found in a thicket at Angleton, 60km south two days later. She had been strangled.Twelve-year-old Suzanne Bowers vanished on May 21, 1977.She was last seen walking the familiar three minute route between her grandmother’s house and her own home in Galveston at 10:45am.

The seventh grader was going home to get her swimsuit to go to the beach.Two years later, her skeletal remains were found 30km north at Alta Loma.Her skull appeared to have gunshot holes, but investigators did not determine her cause of death.Susan Shaw and Rhonda Johnson were last seen at 61st Street, Galveston before they were abducted, murdered and their skeletal remains later found in a bayou.

Source:SuppliedFor decades women and girls have been vanishing from the I-45 highway which runs from Galveston on the southern Texas coast to the metropolis of Houston.Source:SuppliedOn September 6, 1974, best friends Brooks Bracewell, 12, and Georgia Geer, 14, went to the UtoteM convenience store store on the I-45 in Texas City.

It was a short bus trip from their homes on Dickinson Bayou, Galveston County, where they lived a short trail through pine trees apart.The two pretty young girls wore the latest in 1970s fashion, bell bottoms and crop tops.They frequented UtoteM for soft drinks and bags of chips.

Galveston County Police initially believed they were runaways and didn’t look into their disappearance for months.It was not investigated as a homicide until April 1981, when their remains were found in a culvert near Alvin, 20km from where they were last seen.

In October 1983, just after waitress Heidi Fye vanished and her remains were dumped on the Calder 3000 block, a 14-year-old girl vanished from home in Santa Fe, just 10km south.The house from where Sondra Kay Ramber disappeared was left with the front door open, food in the oven, and her purse and coat inside.

Sondra Ramber, 14, went missing leaving food in the oven and her purse and coat and no trace of her was ever found.Source:SuppliedBest friends Georgia Geer, 14, and Brooks Bracewell, 12, were abducted from the street and their remains not fund until seven years later in a ditch 20km away.

Source:SuppliedSeventh grader Suzanne Bowers was abducted walking home from her grandma’s place and her skeleton was found gunshot holes in the skull.Source:SuppliedWhen her father reported her missing, police told him she was a runaway and said she had gone to start up a new life.

No trace of Sondra Ramber has ever been found.When the other missing female whose remains ended up on the Calder 3000 block vanished, her father did not take it lightly from police.After Tim Miller’s daughter Laura was abducted from League City, murdered, dumped and her body found in February 1986, he sprang into action.

When Robert Abel, a NASA engineer who ran the Stardust horseback rides on Calder Road came under suspicion, Tim Miller confronted him with a revolver and accused him of being a serial killer.Abel was never charged and Mr Miller went on to found EquuSearch, a search and recovery organisation for the hundreds of missing cases in Texas.

It has recovered 238 bodies and he and his team have searched bays, bayous, canals, rivers and lakes for the missing.The notorious stretch between Houston and Galveston continued to provide cases to be investigated.In May 1986, 19-year-old Shelley Sikes left her waitressing job at Gaidos Seafood Restaurant on Seawall Boulevard in Galveston.

The next day her car was found abandoned on the side of the I-45, bogged in mud, spattered with blood and the windscreen smashed.Gerald Zwarst, 63, was later convicted of her aggravated kidnapping and sentenced to life, but Sikes’ remains were never found.

Poster for Laura Miller, 16, whose remains were found in the Calder ‘killing field’ in League City, Texas in 1986.Source:SuppliedMaria Johnson was last seen outside a Galveston ice cream store.Source:SuppliedDebbie Ackerman and Johnson’s were found in a bayou.

Source:SuppliedIn October 1988, Suzanne Rene Richerson, 22, also vanished from her job and was never seen again.Richerson appears to have been kidnapped around 6am from the Casa Del Mar condominiums where the maritime administration student worked as a night desk clerk.

Witnesses heard a woman’s screams and a lone shoe was found in the parking lot.Her parents and fellow students plastered the Houston Galveston streets with posters of the missing woman.Suspects included a drug addict who later died of an overdose and two men, cousins, none of whom were ever charged.

On February 1, 1996, Lynette Bibbs, 14, and Tamara Fisher, 15 visited a Houston club for teenagers.A 22-year-old male later claimed to have dropped the friends off at a motel near the city centre.The bodies of the two girls were found dumped by a rural road two days later in Cleveland, 80km north.

Kimberly Pitchford vanished from a driving lesson and her body was found two days later in a thicket 60km south.Source:SuppliedSuzanne Rene Richerson was abducted from her job as night desk clerk at the Casa Del Mar Z(above) in Galveston, and only her shoe was ever found.

Source:SuppliedSuzanne Richardson was studying marine administration and working nights when she was kidnapped.Source:SuppliedThe following month Krystal Jean Baker, 13, was last seen near the I-45 in Texas city leaving her grandmother’s home for a convenience store to use the phone.

The young girl, whose great aunt was Norma Jean Baker — better known as Marilyn Monroe — was found hours later under a bridge in nearby Chamber County.She had been beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled to death with a ligature.Itinerant refinery welder, Kevin Edison Smith, was convicted 16 years later of her murder, after her dress was resubmitted for DNA analysis and yielded a semen stain

In April 1997, aspiring ballerina Laura Kate Smither, 12, was jogging near the I-45 in Friendswood.She never returned home.Her decapitated body was found 17 days later by a retention pond near the I-45 in Pasadena, naked except for a sock.Police drew comparisons with Smither’s murder and that of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, three months earlier and 500km away in Arlington.

Both had been left nude but for a sock.But several months later, in August 1997, the murder of Jessica Lee Cain, 17, was to make police link her and Smither to one of several suspects, William Lewis Reece.Shelley Sikes, 19, vanished in 1986 and her blood-spattered car was found abandoned by the I-45 highway.

Source:SuppliedLynette Bibbs vanished with her friend.Source:SuppliedThe bodies of Bibbs and Tamara Fisher were found dumped 80km north.Source:SuppliedThe teenager had been dining at a restaurant in Clear Lake with friends and then driving her father’s truck, which was found abandoned on the I-45, but operational, with no signs of a struggle and her wallet on the front seat.

Witnesses saw her leave the truck and walk towards a red Isuzu Amigo which was stopped behind her vehicle.Nineteen years later, in 2016, human remains were found in a horse paddock near Hobby airport in southern Houston.They belonged to Jessica Cain and within days police recovered Laura Smither’s remains in Pasadena.

They charged William Reece, a convicted kidnapper who had been in prison since 1998 when a woman escaped him and alerted police.At the time Reece was suspected of murdering Smither and Cain, he had been out of jail for a year after serving ten years for kidnapping and raping two women in Oklahoma.

Aspiring ballerina, Laura Smither, 12, vanished while jogging and her decapitated body was found in a retention pond.Source:SuppliedFisherman found Sarah Trusty’s decomposed remains.Source:SuppliedJessica Cain’s body was in a horse paddock.Source:Supplied

The suspected serial killer was due to be tried in Oklahoma for strangling to death a 19-year-old newlywed, Tiffany Johnson at a car wash in Oklahoma.After the trial, he will be transferred back to Texas to stand trial for the murders of Cain, Smither and Kelli Ann Cox, a 20-year-old student who vanished in 1997 from Denton, in the state’s north.

In July 2002, Sarah Trusty was riding her bike near the Algoa Baptist Church in Galveston County around 11pm.The next day, her bike was inside the church but no other trace of her was found until 14 days later fisherman saw her decomposed body on the Texas City dike.

In November 2006, within a single week, the bodies of two missing females were found in neighbouring counties on the Galveston coast.A man on a motorcycle found the body of Terresa Vanegas, 16, at the edge of a Dickinson High School practice field on November 3.

She had disappeared after a Halloween party two blocks away, and had been raped, strangled and her body cut.On November 10, a passer-by found the naked body of Amanda Nicole Kellum, 27, lying facedown at the eastern edge of Omega Bay near the I-45.Kellum had a significant police record, for assault, drug possession and prostitution.

Read more: news.com.au »

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