Who Killed Houston Socialite Doris Angleton? A 1990s Murder Mystery

In 1997, the body of 46-year-old housewife Doris Angleton was found in the wealthy Houston enclave of River Oaks.

November 02, 2018

Doris Angleton [Wikimedia Commons]

Doris Angleton [Wikimedia Commons]

By: Catherine Townsend

HOUSTON, TX — On April 16, 1997, the body of 46-year-old Houston socialite and housewife Doris Angleton was found in the home she shared with her husband Robert “Bob” Angleton.

Doris and Bob's former home in River Oaks, Houston [Investigation Discovery]

Doris and Bob's former home in River Oaks, Houston [Investigation Discovery]

The mother of two had been shot 13 times, and the murder mystery is the subject of the premiere episode of Investigation Discovery's The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade.

During the 1990s, the city of Houston, Texas was booming. George H.W. Bush was president. Ann Richards became the state’s first female governor.

And in business, a thriving oil industry meant that the money was flowing — at least, for those who moved in the right circles.

In Houston, becoming part of the "right" circle was all about living in the right neighborhood. And that neighborhood was River Oaks.

Bob and Doris Angleton [Investigation Discovery]

Bob and Doris Angleton [Investigation Discovery]

The area was populated with politicians and executives from companies including a then-thriving Enron and Exxon.

Bob and Doris fit right in. In addition to being a successful businessman, Bob owned a golf course, a tennis club, and land in Colorado.

According to friends and family, Doris charmed everyone she met. “She loved to dance. She had a lot of friends. She was always trying to improve herself,” Doris’ mother, Ann McGown, said.

Bob and Doris had met at a party 13 years earlier. Doris was married to someone else at the time, but unhappy, and according to her mother, Bob “swept her off her feet.”

The couple married in 1982. Two years later, she gave birth to the couple’s twin daughters.

Over the years, Bob and Doris appeared to have it all. But underneath the surface, the couple’s relationship was rocky.

By 1997, the couple was discussing divorce. But according to Ann, the split was so amicable that the couple decided that they would live in in the same house together until the kids finished the spring semester.

On the day she was murdered, Doris brought the girls to a softball game – which Bob was coaching.

She went home to get a special bat for one of them, and never returned.

Bob had an airtight alibi. But when investigators took a closer look into his business dealings, they found potential suspects.

It turned out that Bob ran a highly organized, but illegal, bookie operation – and by the mid 1990s, he was handing tens of millions of dollars worth of bets.

Some friends speculated that the killing had been carried out by one of Angleton’s underworld enemies.

It turned out that Bob, while earning an estimated $2 million per year from his bookie operation, was also an undercover informant for the Houston Police Department.

But Bob was not the only one with a secret life. Police found that Doris had been logging onto AOL chatrooms when Bob was out of town.

One of her contacts claimed to be a stockbroker who was also unhappily married. By 1996, Doris had met her online lover, and they were having a full-blown affair.

Then investigators encountered another twist when they found Bob’s brother Roger in Las Vegas with a briefcase containing typewritten notes about the crime – and mysterious tape recordings.

Bob and Doris Angleton with their twin daughters [Investigation Discovery]

Bob and Doris Angleton with their twin daughters [Investigation Discovery]

The murder mystery would end in charges of tax evasion, money laundering, and gambling in a case that would blow Houston society wide open.

Explore the Doris Angleton case in the premiere episode of Investigation Discovery's The 1990s: The Deadliest Decade on Monday, November 5 at 9/8c!

Read more: Texas Monthly

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