Texas Killing Fields: Who Murdered Dozens Of Young Girls And Women Near Houston?
The remains of at least 30 victims have been found in a remote area since the early ‘70s.
Around 25 miles south of Houston sits what has become known as the Texas Killing Fields, a 25-acre tract of land where the bodies of at least 30 murder victims, mostly girls and women between 12 and 25 years old, have been found since the 1970s.
Originally known as Calder Field Road and located in League City, the field is located just off Interstate 45, which connects Houston and Galveston. The thoroughfare made the area easy to enter and exit without getting caught, especially before it became more developed in the past few decades.
The swampy and wet terrain further complicates catching whoever was responsible for the homicides since potential evidence was easily destroyed. When the bodies first started turning up, undeveloped forensic techniques, the view that many victims were runaways or troubled, and the lack of police interest in the cases contributed to the cases going under-investigated and unsolved.
The body of the first known victim, 14-year-old Brenda Jones, was found not far from the fields on July 2, 1971. She disappeared while walking to visit an aunt in Galveston.
Over the next six years, the remains of 11 more victims were found in the area. Another spate of murders took place in the 1980s and ‘90s. The FBI and others believe the slayings could be the work of more than one serial killer since the slayings took place over a multi-decade timespan.
One man who became a suspect in the case was Clyde Hedrick. According to Houstonia, in 1984, Hedrick went out with 30-year-old Ellen Beason. Her remains were later found on a dirt road in Galveston County and he was charged with abuse of a corpse. In 2014, he was sentenced to 20 years behind bars on a manslaughter conviction but he served eight and was released last year.
The Independent reported that Hedrick, now 68, was a patron of the bar where 23-year-old Heide Villareal Fye was employed. She went missing in late 1983, and a dog discovered her remains in April the following year. Hedrick, a roofer, also lived on the same street as 16-year-old Laura Miller, who went missing from the same area as Fye in 1986. Miller’s body was also found in the remote Calder Field Road region.
Robert Abel was also once a suspect in the case. The retired NASA aerospace engineer owned land where the bodies of four victims were found. Abel reportedly had a violent past that included death threats against his ex-wives and animal cruelty.
Police eventually cleared Abel of any wrongdoing in the murder cases. In 2005, he was fatally struck by a train and some believe it was a suicide.
Despite investigators looking into multiple suspects and persons of interest throughout the years, the cases remain unsolved and open. The FBI continues to ask for leads that could help crack the cases of the girls and women found dead in the Texas Killing Fields.