From Wisconsin (Ed Gein) we travel to my home state of Texas, for a lesson on why you should not take candy from strangers.
Dean Corll was born in 1939 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His family moved to Texas in 1950, settling in Vidor, a small town roughly 90 miles from Houston. Corll played trombone in the school band and graduated from Vidor High in 1958. Shortly afterward, the Corll family packed up and moved to Houston, where Corll’s mother continued the small candy company she’d started in Vidor.
The “Pecan Prince” candy company specialized in pecan chewies, pralines, and divinity. Corll ran the assembly line and endeared himself to the neighborhood boys (!) by handing out free candy (!!) and taking them to picnics at the beach in his van (!!!). In 1968, Corll’s mother closed the business and moved to Colorado. Corll stayed behind, working as an electrician for the Houston Light and Power Company.
Electricians must make a good bit, because Corll had enough money to start hiring two teenaged boys–David Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr.–to bring him victims, all boys between the ages of thirteen and twenty, on the occasions when Corll couldn’t persuade anybody to get into his car to go pick up some beer. (Beer is serial killer code for, “I’m going to take you to my house and kill you.”) Dean Corll is thought to be responsible for 27 deaths, maybe more. Some of the bodies he buried under a storage shed; others, he buried at Sam Rayburn Reservoir and High Island.
In a nice twist of fate, Corll was shot dead at his house in Pasadena, a Houston suburb, by Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr., in 1973. Henley had made the mistake of inviting a sixteen-year-old runaway girl to Corll’s house. Corll flipped out and attempted to do to Henley what he’d done to 27 others: torture, molest, and kill. Henley managed to grab a .22-caliber pistol and shoot Corll six times in the head and upper body.
David Brooks and Henley are currently serving six consecutive life sentences.
Texas Monthly, April 2011, volume 39, issue 4: “The Lost Boys”, by Skip Hollandsworth