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Dozens dead and several serial killer suspects: The haunting reality of the Texas Killing Fields


Grim Reaper 6
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The girls kept vanishing, the bodies kept surfacing, and the families who knew better kept getting told their loved ones were runaways. It’s been decades since young women began turning up dead off stretches of I-45 between Houston and Galveston, a marshy, desolate region near the Gulf of Mexico. At least 30 bodies have been discovered there since the 1970s, most of them female, with very few cases solved; more women have gone missing from the area on top of that.

The 80s and 90s tragically saw new waves of bodies, and some of these cases form the focus of a new Netflix series investigating what has become known as the Texas Killing Fields. The three-part documentary centres not only on the murdered girls and women but also on the destroyed lives of devastated families - and even ruled-out suspects - left behind. The possibility of more than one killer has long been considered and, given recent developments, appears to be the reality.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/dozens-dead-and-several-serial-killer-suspects-the-haunting-reality-of-the-texas-killing-fields/ar-AA14HoWE?ocid=EMMX&cvid=55b62c192ccd4e0fbf6ac30fe290ef5b

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I have a book about this that I read a number of years ago. It's called Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45 Texas Killing Fields. It was written by Kathryn Casey. I can vaguely remember some of it. I'll have to look over it again.

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46 minutes ago, susieice said:

I have a book about this that I read a number of years ago. It's called Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45 Texas Killing Fields. It was written by Kathryn Casey. I can vaguely remember some of it. I'll have to look over it again.

It pretty crazy to thing that multiple Serial Killers are operating in that area. I means if it’s accurate and it’s been occurring since the 1970s, you think the Police and FBI would have stopped it by now. This is a terrible situation that needs to be stopped so many deaths over such a long period of time.

If you have NETFLIX apparently they are running a series on this case, hopefully this recognition may help in the case.

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Sadly I don't have Netflix but I did flip through the book. It has pictures of the victims and some of the suspects. A lot of those girls were young, in their early teens. Some died in pairs. Michael Lloyd Self and Ed Bell are some of the suspects named. I haven't really read anything. There's a Gerald Pieter Zwarst pictured too.

Edited by susieice
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54 minutes ago, Grim Reaper 6 said:

This is a terrible situation that needs to be stopped so many deaths over such a long period of time.

I've always heard that the absolute WORST kind of crime is one that is totally random.  Some crazy just deciding on a whim to kill, then not doing so again for months and then randomly doing it again.  Seems that with the advent of DNA evidence and the popularity of sites like "23 and Me", someone should have been caught before now.

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2 minutes ago, and-then said:

I've always heard that the absolute WORST kind of crime is one that is totally random.  Some crazy just deciding on a whim to kill, then not doing so again for months and then randomly doing it again.  Seems that with the advent of DNA evidence and the popularity of sites like "23 and Me", someone should have been caught before now.

Yea it seems the same way to me, even items from the 1970s can still have DNA found upon them depending how they have been stored.  To it seems really strange no one has been caught, it almost seems like the police didn’t connect all the murders until recently. But, over all it seems like poor police and FBI work.

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1 hour ago, susieice said:

Sadly I don't have Netflix but I did flip through the book. It has pictures of the victims and some of the suspects. A lot of those girls were young, in their early teens. Some died in pairs. Michael Lloyd Self and Ed Bell are some of the suspects named. I haven't really read anything. There's a Gerald Pieter Zwarst pictured too.

That’s a shame about NETFLIX, but if you get bored you can always read the book again.

Here is something else I found on YouTube you may be interested in I have not watched it myself yet.

 

 

Edited by Grim Reaper 6
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2 hours ago, susieice said:

I have a book about this that I read a number of years ago. It's called Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45 Texas Killing Fields. It was written by Kathryn Casey. I can vaguely remember some of it. I'll have to look over it again.

It is very highly rated. I shall investigate this book, thanks:Deliver Us: Three Decades of Murder and Redemption in the Infamous I-45/Texas Killing Fields eBook : Casey, Kathryn: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

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43 minutes ago, Grim Reaper 6 said:

Yea it seems the same way to me, even items from the 1970s can still have DNA found upon them depending how they have been stored.  To it seems really strange no one has been caught, it almost seems like the police didn’t connect all the murders until recently. But, over all it seems like poor police and FBI work.

Hi Grim

Some serial killers travel frequently because of what they do for a living and if some of the girls were hitch-hiking or working a truck stop might be how some of the girls were picker up. Because of how long this area has been used it likely is several killers involved.

Years ago the was a pig farmer in BC that was picking up women in Vancouver and making snuff films then feeding the bodies to the pigs. In part this could be the same kind of thing for some of the victims.

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18 minutes ago, jmccr8 said:

Hi Grim

Some serial killers travel frequently because of what they do for a living and if some of the girls were hitch-hiking or working a truck stop might be how some of the girls were picker up. Because of how long this area has been used it likely is several killers involved.

Years ago the was a pig farmer in BC that was picking up women in Vancouver and making snuff films then feeding the bodies to the pigs. In part this could be the same kind of thing for some of the victims.

I see your point, and it makes sense but that pig farmer that’s really horrible man. Where I lived in Washington State they had guy they called the green river killer. He killed young women from the early 1980s until he was caught in 1998 it’s believed he killed approximately 49 women . There is no telling how many of those freaks are out there right now.

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3 minutes ago, Grim Reaper 6 said:

I see your point, and it makes sense but that pig farmer that’s really horrible man. Where I lived in Washington State they had guy they called the green river killer. He killed young women from the early 1980s until he was caught in 1998 it’s believed he killed approximately 49 women . There is no telling how many of those freaks are out there right now.

Hi Grim

It varies and over the years have seen it at  150ish active serial killers at a peak but without looking would say that there are 25-50 active serial killers operating a year as the norm. These numbers are for the US only.

Yes I remember  when the Green River killer was active

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In the 70's and 80's (flower power, peace and love and aging hippies hitch hiking all over) was a comparative open season for serial killers. If you do an in depth study of many of the best known, they were mobile and moved like migrating fowl along the I-10 corridor. It startled me in the Police Academy to find out how many of them had passed through Pensacola, FL in their careers. Young kids doing the beach and drug scene, the hooker districts, and so much naivete made for a sickly perfect storm for sport killers. Houston was a prime hunting ground along that band of murdering. (Mind you many happened other places, I was a southern cop and focused on the south for the most part, and I 10 was how they came and went for the most part on their forays in the SE).

Random kills, in diverse places as opportunities or the inclination arose makes for one of the hardest types of cases to solve. Those were also the years when law enforcement was learning the most about this new technology arising from DNA and how to get it and how to preserve it best. Add to that a body decomposing in a swamp and evidence can be lost or never taken in the first place if the area is one that does not routinely find bodies about. Mistakes get made, evidence got destroyed by improperly storing it. 

Today, while it makes nice headlines when a killer is identified decades later using DNA, not all databases are open to law enforcement, as people worry about the poor killer's rights to privacy (yeah I have an attitude about that) and it costs a lot of money. That data is not linked in any way to criminal databases so unless a department submits it and pays for the search and work to oftentimes resort to forensic geneology to find him or her, it won't get done. Crime hobby groups who delve into cold cases have often raised the money and paid for victims to be identified if they think they found a link for a Jane Doe to someone. 

Many departments had just enough to keep up with the new cases and calls before the defunding movement came along, so the reality is that 30 year old cases don't get worked on. Unknown victims adds to the difficulty of solving a case. 

Usually, it is a person or group with a focused passion for a case that makes the difference, be it in raising the money or making enough noise to get the brass to assign effort to a case if there is something new to run down and check out.

We caught a lot of them and the tales revealed are pretty awful and sad, but I would hazard a guess more have never been caught or possibly even known about and connected up in the case of serial killers. My department was unusually well trained, and even so, when I got access to some FBI training, it was as if I had known very little before. Serial killers are a type all their own, very aberrant types, almost unique in some ways from others and it is a special challenge to hunt them. I am glad to see so much progress in DNA being made but we do need an easier system if we want to see the kind of result some posters here expect, because of how it is portrayed in media.

I think it will come, technology has exploded incredibly in a few short years. But, right now it can be hit or miss.

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9 hours ago, pellinore said:

As soon as I saw this thread I remembered I had this book. My living room has 3 bookcases in it because I read a whole lot. Always have. Just looking through it and the wealth of pictures she put in it is informative. 

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10 hours ago, Not A Rockstar said:

In the 70's and 80's (flower power, peace and love and aging hippies hitch hiking all over) was a comparative open season for serial killers. If you do an in depth study of many of the best known, they were mobile and moved like migrating fowl along the I-10 corridor. It startled me in the Police Academy to find out how many of them had passed through Pensacola, FL in their careers. Young kids doing the beach and drug scene, the hooker districts, and so much naivete made for a sickly perfect storm for sport killers. Houston was a prime hunting ground along that band of murdering. (Mind you many happened other places, I was a southern cop and focused on the south for the most part, and I 10 was how they came and went for the most part on their forays in the SE).

Random kills, in diverse places as opportunities or the inclination arose makes for one of the hardest types of cases to solve. Those were also the years when law enforcement was learning the most about this new technology arising from DNA and how to get it and how to preserve it best. Add to that a body decomposing in a swamp and evidence can be lost or never taken in the first place if the area is one that does not routinely find bodies about. Mistakes get made, evidence got destroyed by improperly storing it. 

Today, while it makes nice headlines when a killer is identified decades later using DNA, not all databases are open to law enforcement, as people worry about the poor killer's rights to privacy (yeah I have an attitude about that) and it costs a lot of money. That data is not linked in any way to criminal databases so unless a department submits it and pays for the search and work to oftentimes resort to forensic geneology to find him or her, it won't get done. Crime hobby groups who delve into cold cases have often raised the money and paid for victims to be identified if they think they found a link for a Jane Doe to someone. 

Many departments had just enough to keep up with the new cases and calls before the defunding movement came along, so the reality is that 30 year old cases don't get worked on. Unknown victims adds to the difficulty of solving a case. 

Usually, it is a person or group with a focused passion for a case that makes the difference, be it in raising the money or making enough noise to get the brass to assign effort to a case if there is something new to run down and check out.

We caught a lot of them and the tales revealed are pretty awful and sad, but I would hazard a guess more have never been caught or possibly even known about and connected up in the case of serial killers. My department was unusually well trained, and even so, when I got access to some FBI training, it was as if I had known very little before. Serial killers are a type all their own, very aberrant types, almost unique in some ways from others and it is a special challenge to hunt them. I am glad to see so much progress in DNA being made but we do need an easier system if we want to see the kind of result some posters here expect, because of how it is portrayed in media.

I think it will come, technology has exploded incredibly in a few short years. But, right now it can be hit or miss.

This reminds me that there is an area on the westside of Albuquerque (I think close to I-40) where women have been found in the last 30 or more years, always missing prostitutes and it seems like they recently identified the killer of some of them.   

 

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13 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

This reminds me that there is an area on the westside of Albuquerque (I think close to I-40) where women have been found in the last 30 or more years, always missing prostitutes and it seems like they recently identified the killer of some of them.   

 

Yeah, fast travel, few at some times of the night, empty rest areas, people tending to ignore a vehicle parked out of the way in back, assuming they are just trying to sleep for free somewhere and traveling, interstates are arteries for trafficking and dead body dumping. It was just a couple decades ago that Alabama and Mississippi had such horror story dark, busted up rest areas along the I-10 I would not stop at any of them even armed at night. Now, they are fairly impressive, and some have security as well (though the guard may scare you more LOL). 

I would bet some of the more rural areas up north and out west may still be pretty empty and old like that.

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On 11/30/2022 at 3:22 PM, Grim Reaper 6 said:

It pretty crazy to thing that multiple Serial Killers are operating in that area. I means if it’s accurate and it’s been occurring since the 1970s, you think the Police and FBI would have stopped it by now. This is a terrible situation that needs to be stopped so many deaths over such a long period of time.

If you have NETFLIX apparently they are running a series on this case, hopefully this recognition may help in the case.

I started watching the Netflix series last night after reading this thread yesterday. Thanks for the heads up. I've only seen the first of three episodes but it's quite gripping I find. I'll finish it over the weekend no doubt.

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1 hour ago, psyche101 said:

I started watching the Netflix series last night after reading this thread yesterday. Thanks for the heads up. I've only seen the first of three episodes but it's quite gripping I find. I'll finish it over the weekend no doubt.

I haven’t watched it yet, but I will also check it out.:tu:

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I know little about this one but when you say bodies from the 70s to now then i really have to think more than one killer involved and it just happened to be a good dumping site.

Who knows but yeah i would think to some degree DNA might shine light on both victims and perhaps killers.

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11 minutes ago, the13bats said:

I know little about this one but when you say bodies from the 70s to now then i really have to think more than one killer involved and it just happened to be a good dumping site.

Who knows but yeah i would think to some degree DNA might shine light on both victims and perhaps killers.

I think the same thing Bats that’s huge stretch of time and many other factors that points to more than one person. 

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29 minutes ago, the13bats said:

I know little about this one but when you say bodies from the 70s to now then i really have to think more than one killer involved and it just happened to be a good dumping site.

Who knows but yeah i would think to some degree DNA might shine light on both victims and perhaps killers.

Yes, that's definitely the case. Some murders have been solved. Kevin Edison Smith, John Robert King, Gerald Peter Zwarst and William Lewis have all been arrested for murders where victims were dumped at the killing fields. Some have already died in prison. 

They all confessed. The local police have been given quite some criticism concerning the case and investigations. A lot of girls were written of as runaways much to the despair of parents who had no reason to think their child had actually run away. 

There are still many to go.

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The other day i was sad to see a possum i had been feeding each night was hit by a car he didnt look mangled but i wanted to be sure it had no young in a pouch, it was male and actually very mangled, this was late last thurs i already didnt feel great and had to work fri and sat so i placed him by the carriage house with plans to bury him sun.

much to my dismay by sat leaving for work buzzards had cleaned out 95% of him by sun nothing but a few pices of hair which by mon was also gone.

Just imagine how many unfortunate folks murder victims, homeless, lost, etc ended up dying and no one ever knew its really sad to me.

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1 minute ago, the13bats said:

The other day i was sad to see a possum i had been feeding each night was hit by a car he didnt look mangled but i wanted to be sure it had no young in a pouch, it was male and actually very mangled, this was late last thurs i already didnt feel great and had to work fri and sat so i placed him by the carriage house with plans to bury him sun.

much to my dismay by sat leaving for work buzzards had cleaned out 95% of him by sun nothing but a few pices of hair which by mon was also gone.

Just imagine how many unfortunate folks murder victims, homeless, lost, etc ended up dying and no one ever knew its really sad to me.

Some of the victims were reported to have been scattered by scavengers making identification pretty much impossible.

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9 minutes ago, psyche101 said:

Yes, that's definitely the case. Some murders have been solved. Kevin Edison Smith, John Robert King, Gerald Peter Zwarst and William Lewis have all been arrested for murders where victims were dumped at the killing fields. Some have already died in prison. 

They all confessed. The local police have been given quite some criticism concerning the case and investigations. A lot of girls were written of as runaways much to the despair of parents who had no reason to think their child had actually run away. 

There are still many to go.

There sadly is a stereotypical idea that a girl runs away does drugs turns tricks to survive and gets killed, i think thats not really very common but seems a lot of cops subscribe to it so they blow off a lot of cases Like somehow the victim doesnt deserve help.

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4 minutes ago, psyche101 said:

Some of the victims were reported to have been scattered by scavengers making identification pretty much impossible.

Here in florida i am a bit surprized any bodies especially in or near water are found we have so many creatures that would dispose of a body.

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8 minutes ago, the13bats said:

There sadly is a stereotypical idea that a girl runs away does drugs turns tricks to survive and gets killed, i think thats not really very common but seems a lot of cops subscribe to it so they blow off a lot of cases Like somehow the victim doesnt deserve help.

That was certainly the case with first few, then a girl from a very reputable household called Laura Smither went missing on a morning jog, and that seemed to change attitudes a little. 

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