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I-45 Texas Mysteries "WE HAVE TO FIND THE HAYSTACK, BEFORE WE CAN FIND THE NEEDLE IN THAT HAYSTACK" J. B. Kline , Galveston County Sheriff.

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Old 07-19-2007, 05:12 PM
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mystery The 70s

Name/ Date Missing/ Where last seen/ Where body found/ Cause of Death/ Date remains found

2 Lubbock Girls missing from vacation at South Padre Island/6/28/1969/ Last seen possibly at a Refugio restaurant with three boys with surfboards atop their car/?/?/?/

girl missing from Baytown 6/11/1971/ ?/ ?/ ?/ ? /

Collette Wilson 6/17/1971 Alvin Bus stop Addicks reservoir ??? 11/24/1971

"girl" ?/ ?/?/?/??/West Beach Galveston underneath a beer joint, had been raped repeatedly, bound and gagged/?/?/1971

Brenda Jones 7/11/1971 by Galveston Hospital Galveston Bay near Pelican Island Bridge nude,strangled, bound hand and foot with the laces of her sandals, gagged with a slip in her mouth July 12 1971

Rhonda Johnson/Sharon Shaw 8/4/1971 61st st. in Galveston Taylor Bayou No cause of death, (1/2/1972 and 2/17/1972)

Unknown remains thought to be Phillip Manning (were not) ??/ ??/ Near Manned Spacecraft Center near Taylor Lake Bayou/ ??/ September 1, 1971

Gloria Gonzalez, 10/28/1971 leaving for vacation Addicks reservoir/ beaten to death, had 2 foot length of cord attached to a four inch long piece of wood around her neck/ 11/23/1971

Allison Craven 11/9/1971 Her mother's apartment about 4 1/2 mile from field in Pearland body parts by Harris County apartment and Pearland field No cause of death 2/25/1972

Debbie Ackerman/Maria Johnson 11/15/1971 Galveston Shopping Mall Turners Bayou North Texas City Maria/shot with .38 in head and neck Debbie/shot with .38 in chin and back Both girls bound hand and foot and nude from the waist down. Maria bound with fishing twine, Debbie bound with men's shoelaces/ 11/17/1971 and 11/18/1971

Mildred Jo Ann Knighten/ 10/20/1972/ Left the home of her parents with unknown friend in car, was supposed to be going to her sister's in La Porte/ stabbed and slashed repeatedly, wearing only a shirt/ 10/22/1972

Kimberly Pitchford 1/3/1973 Pasadena driving school at Dobie High school Angleton ditch shot in head 1/5/1973

Houston girl missing/ 1/27/1973/Last seen at a dance/ ?/?/?/

Possible girl missing June 15, 1973 from Highlands.

Jo Ann Harrison/ ? / body found in industrial area in Houston / stabbed to death / body found 6/ 30 / 1973

Possible 2 Highlands girls missing November 20, 1973 (Unconfirmed if still missing.. Tammy Cooper and Wanda Ann O'Neal)

Brooks Bracewell/Georgia Geer 12/6/1974/Walking to school bus stop/ Alvin swamp ???? Remains found in 1976 (?) and 1981

Girl missing from Cueros/ Last phonecall to father from Deming New Mexico/ 1/12/1975/ Last seen leaving Producers Association Building/ ? /? / she worked at the White Owl Cafe

Nina Kluge ??? Disappeared October 22, 1975 from 16239 1st st. in Rosharon/ Found off of Rosharon County rd. 48 ???? Damage to skull ?? Body Found October 27th (Thanksgiving Day) 1975.


Samarra Kaye Cribbs/ March 5, 1977/ Spencer,Pasadena, Texas / stabbed / same day/

Suzanne Bowers/May 21, 1977/ Galveston walking from 4000 block of avenue S1/2 to the 3100 block of Avenue P/had skul fracture but no cause of death/March 25, 1979.

Wanda Lee Ann Priddy/disappeared August 29, 1978/ Port Lavaca Texas/ ??/??/??

Angela Desiree Kelly/3/28/1979/ ? / body found Red Bluff rd. Pasadena TX/ Strangulation, hands bound.

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Old 07-19-2007, 08:29 PM
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The Galveston Daily News
Tuesday Morning, November 31, 1971

Same Killer Seen In Five Slayings

Galveston County Sheriff J. B. Kline said Monday that five of the seven girls killed in the Houston/Galveston area in past months could possibly have been murdered by one and the same person.

Kline said that he, harris County Sheriff C. V. "Buster" Kern and the investigator from Brazoria County agreed on the single slayer theory Monday at a Houston meeting of law enforcement officials from Houston and Dallas and from Galveston, Brazoria and Montgomery Counties.

All are investigating the deaths of young women in those areas.

Kline said he thinks there is a link in the deaths of Debbie Ackerman, 15, and Marie Johnson, 15, both of Galveston who were found two weeks ago in Turner's Bayou in Texas City, Brenda Jones, 14, also of Galveston who was found last July floating in Galveston Bay, Gloria Ann Gonzalez, 19, of Houston and Collette Wilson, 13, of Alvin, both discovered last week near Addick's reservoir in Southwest Harris County.

Two other murders, in which young women were found in Montgomery and Brazoria Counties, were ruled out of the present investigation, Kline said.

"Apparentely those two were not sexually molested" he explained "They were fully clothed when found. Also, they were a little older women and a shotgun was used on both."

As for the murders in Dallas County "Those were apparentely hijacking-homicide types" Kline said "Those were working girls and young women who worked in drive-in groceries and doughnut shops. The stores were robbed and then they were killed. Robbery was the motive rather than sex."

Kern announced earlier Monday that Houston officials are looking for a 25-year-old man thought to be connected with the killing of the two girls found in the Addicks reservoir area. Kern said the man was last seen in Houston about a week ago.

Kline said that lleads are still coming in Houston, Brazoria and here. "There are three or four leads we've got to eliminate, or with luck have something turn up."

Kline agreed with Kern that law enforcement officials should meet together on a regular basis for major criminal investigations.

At Monday's meeting, said Kline "We had to coordinate what information we had to see if one person or more was roaming the countryside or confined to an area. In crimes of this nature, when mobilization and transportation are so fast, this kind of conference in major crimes is needed.

Other Galveston County authorities attending the meeting included Lt. J.D. Irwin of the sheriff's department; Sgt. Charles Nelson and Detective Oscar Ekelund, both of Galveston Police Department; and Texas City Police chief Rankin L. Dewalt and Lt. Savas Saragoza.

The reward for information in the case continues to grow with the latest pledge of $200 by the Galveston Human Relations Commission.

The fund, which has expanded to $2,150 this weekend, is kept in a special bank account at W.L. Moody & Co. Contributions are still being accepted in hopes that the reward will encourage additional information in the investigation.

Houston (AP) C.V. "Buster" Kern said Monday a search is underway for a 25-year-old white man for questioning in the deaths of two teenage girls whose remains were found last week in the wooded Addicks reservoir area West of Houston.

Kern made the announcement after 75 to 100 Texas Peace Officers met behind closed doors for a long discussion of Houston area slayings of seven young women since June.

Details of the conference were not revealed but it apparentely was called to coordinate information for the search of the killer or killers and to study any possible links links in the seven crimes.

Kern would not describe the man being sought except to give his age and color. He said he did not know whether he had a correct name for the man or whether the man was still in the Houston area.

The search began, Kern explained, after a young woman told investigators a man who had given her a ride from a bus stop had talked about murders and had expressed hope police would find him.

Invitations to attend the Monday conference had been sent by Kern to officers in Harris County and the surrounding area and to officers in other Texas Metropolitan areas.

While the meeting was in progress, deputies on horseback again searched the reservoir area where the body of Gloria Ann Gonzalez, 19, Houston, was found last Tuesday, and partial remains of the body of Collette Wilson, 13, of Alvin were found Friday.

Only about 35 yards seperated the two discovery areas.

Miss Gonzalez had been missing since Oct. 28; Miss Wilson since June 17.

The Addicks discoveries followed by less than two weeks the discovery of the bodies of Debbie Ackerman,15, and Maria Johnson,15, both of Galveston in Turners Bayou in Texas City, both had been shot to death.

Without elaborating ,Kern had said he suspects the four deaths are related.

Bodies of three other women had been found earlier.

the body of Linda Faye Sutherlin,21, a Houston keypunch operator, was found November 7 near Pearland with a bullet wound in the stomach.

Adele Margaret Crabtree, 16, Cincinatti Ohio, had been shot to death and found November third Northwest of Conroe. The body of another Galveston girl, Brenda Jones,14, was found July 12 in Galveston Bay near Pelican Island.

Medical examiners and medical technicians were checking materials found over the weekend in the Addicks area.

Included were four small bones that appeared to be human but which apparentely failed to match either body found in the area. Also being examined was a coffee can found filled with a substance that appeared to be animal or human flesh and a child's red pullover sweater.

No clothing or clothing fragments were found in the immediate areas where the bodies of Miss Gonzalez and Miss Wilson were discovered.

Sheriff's Lt. Danny W. Brock said other than the fact all seven victims were young and women and murdered brutally, there is as of yet no definate link among the seven cases.


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Old 07-19-2007, 08:31 PM
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Galveston Daily News
Monday Morning, November 29, 1971

OFFICIALS TO MEET TODAY

Houston-- C.V "Buster" Kern, Harris County Sheriff has called a meeting today of all investigators working on the cases of five murdered teenage girls who have been found since late July in Galveston and Harris Counties.

The meetng has been set for 10 a.m. at the Harris County Courthouse and local authorities have indicated they will attend.

Capt. Everett Walker of the Galveston Police Department said he knew nothing of the proposed meeting, but conceded he had not talked Sunday with Police Chief Glenn Stanford.

The decomposed bodies of 19-year-old Gloria Ann Gonzalez of Houston and 13-year-old Collette Wilson of Alvin were found last week near Addicks reservoir in Southwest Harris County.

The week before that, Nov. 17 and 18, the bodies of Maria Johnson and Debbie Ackerman, both 15, and Ball High students, were found floating in Turner's bayou in Northeast Texas City.

Late last July, the body of 14-year-old Brenda Jones of Galveston was found floating in Galveston Bay near the Pelican Island Bridge.

All three of the Galveston girls had been bound hand to foot, were dead when placed in the water, were either nude or partially nude, and had all been sexually assaulted in some manner.

Investigators will also discuss the possibility that the recent murders of two young girls in Brazoria and Mongomery Counties might also be connected to the other five.

Officials in Galveston County expressed different opinions as to whether there was any connection in the deaths.

Galveston County Sheriff J.B. Kline said he felt there was a "semblance of coordination" in the five slayings, but could not say that the Brazoria and Montgomery County killings were related because he had not studied the particular cases.

Lt. J.D. Irwin , head of Galveston County's Regional Crime Squad, said he thought the murders are connected "It looks bad" he added.

Police chief Rankin Dewalt of Texas City reserved a firm opinion, saing the killings seem similar, but that there was no concrete evidence that the murders were related.

Capt. Walker, who is leading the investigation for the Galveston Police Department, said in his opinion the slayings are not tied in, adding that "We've been working on this thing for two weeks. I don't see any sense in the meeting."

Little progress has been made in the investigation of the local murders themselves, although Sheriff Kline hoped to have a good lead developed by Wednesday.

"We've got to find the haystack, before we can find the needle in that haystack." Kline said.

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Old 07-19-2007, 08:34 PM
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The Galveston Daily News
Saturday Morning, November 17, 1973

MURDERS OF 2 GALVESTON GIRLS REMAIN UNSOVED

It's been two years since the bodies of two young Galveston girls, both Ball High Scool students, were found murdered in lonely Turner's Bayou at Texas City, and police authorities are still shaking their heads in bewilderment.

No one has been charged in the vicious murders and no new leads have come to light. The murderer of Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson still roams free.

Police, while not giving up hope, are not optimistic about solving the case. The girls parents however, hold firmly to their belief that the killer someday will be arrested and brought to justice.

Mrs. Joseph P. Ackerman phones police detectives in Texas City and Galveston weekly, each time hoping to hear those words "We may have something."

"We'll never give up hope" she explains "The Johnsons and the Ackermans will never give up looking for whoever did this terrible thing to our girls."

"As long as we have this murderer at large, none of our young girls will be safe. I know this person or persons are sick and need help."

The two girls, who were both 15, spent the night together on a Sunday night, with Monday looming ahead as a school holiday and a good day for downtown shopping. They were last seen alive at the Port Holiday Mall in Galveston.

Many stories and theories emerged about what happened next, but no one can, or will say for sure.

Wednesday, November 17, 1971, a fisherman looked into the muddy water to find the body of a young girl, her hands and feet bound together, nude from the waist down, dead from two gunshot wounds.

That same night, the body was identified as that of Maria Johnson.

Thursday morning dawned cold and gray, with a drizzling rain setting a somber mood as Texas City Police grimly looked for what they hoped they would not find. But, by mid-morning, their hopes were gone as the partially decomposed body of Debbie Ackerman was pulled from the water's edge.Police worked feverishly the following weeks, as headlines would boldly proclaim eachnew lead or possible breakthrough in the case. But like in all news stories the headlines grew smaller and eventually vanished.

Police turned to other cases, leaving the file open and the girl's family's gradually returned to normalcy, shoving their grief and anger aside as life continued on.But,not unlike others who have suffered the loss of a loved one, the familie's cannot forget. They have been stricken with the curse of not knowing, perhaps never knowing, what happened that day and why it happened.One wonders if maybe Mrs. Ackerman is deluding herself when she says she feels confident someday, someone will give her or police the one piece of information to blow the case wide open.Maybe she is, as she asks people to think back to a Monday morning two years ago, to think of some little clue to solve the slayings, but who's to say?

Police worked feverishly the following weeks, as headlines would boldly proclaim each new lead or possible breakthrough in the case. But like in all news stories the headlines grew smaller and eventually vanished.

Police turned to other cases, leaving the file open and the girl's family's gradually returned to normalcy, shoving their grief and anger aside as life continued on.

But,not unlike others who have suffered the loss of a loved one, the familie's cannot forget. They have been stricken with the curse of not knowing, perhaps never knowing, what happened that day and why it happened.

One wonders if maybe Mrs. Ackerman is deluding herself when she says she feels confident someday, someone will give her or police the one piece of information to blow the case wide open.

Maybe she is, as she asks people to think back to a Monday morning two years ago, to think of some little clue to solve the slayings, but who's to say?

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Old 07-19-2007, 08:37 PM
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http://gcpolicenews.com/html/gcpnaug06.pdf

August 2006

DETECTIVE CONVINCED IMPRISONED KILLER MURDERED SIX AREA GIRLS

Thirty five years ago this month , the parents of two 14-year-old Webster girls went to Webster Police Station near the Manned Space Craft Center in Houston, and reported that both their daughters were missing. They explained to the desk officer that Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw had left home after breakfast that morning promising to return at 1 p.m. that afternoon. It was August 4th, 1971 when the girls got a ride with a family friend for a 40 mile ride from Webster to the Wix Ski school, located at 62nd and Avenue L on the banks of Offatts Bayou in Galveston.

The girl's parents were neighbors. By dinner time the girls had not returned home. Neither of their parents had received a phone call from them explaining their absence. They began to call friends and neighbors. No one had seen or heard from them. They called the neighbor who had driven them to Galveston. The neighbor had not seen them since dropping them off at the skiing school and surf club that morning.

During the investigation by the Webster Police Department, it was discovered that Rhonda and Sharon did not stay long at Wix that day. The ski boats were not running due to the water being too choppy. Raymond Wix, who owned the school with his wife Johnnie, told Webster Police Lt. David Colburn that the girls were only there briefly; that they picked up a couple of bathing suits and headed off walking towards 61st street, a block away. Lt, Colburn reported back to Webster Police Chief J.C. Norman that the trail ended with the girls leaving Wix Ski School.

Five months later, on January 2, 1972, two young men riding in seperate boats on North Taylor Lake near the community of Shoreacres in Southeast Harris County, discovered a skull in the marsh in Taylor Bayou, a tributary of the lake. One of the men retrieved the skull from the water, wrapped it in a towel and took it home. The next morning he called the Harris County Sheriff's Department in Houston and reported his find. The skull, with part of the jaw missing, turned out to be that of Rhonda Johnson.

In the days and weeks that followed several massive searches were made of the Taylor Lake and Bayou areas until February 17 when a man in one of the search parties found another skull in the mud on the banks of a drainage ditch that emptied into Taylor Lake. A pathological examination of the skulls and bones found during the searches established that the bones were those of Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw.In the May and June issues of The Police News, we reported that Galveston Police Detective Fred Paige, who has been conducting a dogged investigation into the murders of young girls during this era, had developed information which convinced him that a man currently in prison on a murder conviction, was responsible for the deaths of two other teenage girls, Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson, both 15 years old and both from Galveston. Paige is now linking their deaths with the deaths of Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw, even though a Webster man was arrested and convicted for the murder of Johnson in 1973.

At the time there was a Dairy Queen at the corner of 61st and L streets, which later became Robert Hicks U-Haul. Across the street from Dairy Queen was Jerrico's Surf Shop, a popular place where swimmers, skiers, and surfers shopped. Most everyone from Wix Ski School were customers at Jerrico's.Straight across Offatts Bayou, visible from Wix Pier on Avenue L, was a popular swimming school, also a place where this same crowd of water sports enthusiasts gathered. It was called Conway Pool and is still there today. To get to Conway Pool from Wix, one would merely go a short distance south on 61st street to Heards Lane, a block or two west to Bayouvu Drive and back North a couple of blocks to the pool.Also on the South banks of Offatts Bayou and near Conway Pool, was another popular place where young people went to take sailing lessons offered by Galveston College. Coach Lloyd Kelly, who conducted the sailing lessons, lived downstairs on the water's edge, in a two story house with his son Kyle. His many sailboats were docked at the pier outside the back door of his home. Lloyd Kelly's place was another popular place for the restless and adventesome youth drawn to the water for excitement, romance and summer fun. And that included Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw, two pretty, big-eyed girls with the physical attributes of adult females,put the status of children in the view.

In the days and weeks that followed several massive searches were made of the Taylor Lake and Bayou areas until February 17 when a man in one of the search parties found another skull in the mud on the banks of a drainage ditch that emptied into Taylor Lake. A pathological examination of the skulls and bones found during the searches established that the bones were those of Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw.

In the May and June issues of The Police News, we reported that Galveston Police Detective Fred Paige, who has been conducting a dogged investigation into the murders of young girls during this era, had developed information which convinced him that a man currently in prison on a murder conviction, was responsible for the deaths of two other teenage girls, Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson, both 15 years old and both from Galveston. Paige is now linking their deaths with the deaths of Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw, even though a Webster man was arrested and convicted for the murder of Johnson in 1973.

At the time there was a Dairy Queen at the corner of 61st and L streets, which later became Robert Hicks U-Haul. Across the street from Dairy Queen was Jerrico's Surf Shop, a popular place where swimmers, skiers, and surfers shopped. Most everyone from Wix Ski School were customers at Jerrico's.

Straight across Offatts Bayou, visible from Wix Pier on Avenue L, was a popular swimming school, also a place where this same crowd of water sports enthusiasts gathered. It was called Conway Pool and is still there today. To get to Conway Pool from Wix, one would merely go a short distance south on 61st street to Heards Lane, a block or two west to Bayouvu Drive and back North a couple of blocks to the pool.

Also on the South banks of Offatts Bayou and near Conway Pool, was another popular place where young people went to take sailing lessons offered by Galveston College. Coach Lloyd Kelly, who conducted the sailing lessons, lived downstairs on the water's edge, in a two story house with his son Kyle. His many sailboats were docked at the pier outside the back door of his home. Lloyd Kelly's place was another popular place for the restless and adventesome youth drawn to the water for excitement, romance and summer fun.

And that included Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw, two pretty, big-eyed girls with the physical attributes of adult females,put the status of children in the view of the larger segment of society.Living upstairs in Lloyd Kelly's house was the man whose name we continue to run across as we investigate the murders of these girls, Edward Harold Bell. He and his wife Debbie rented the upstairs from Coach Lloyd Kelly.It also included Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson who were last seen driving away from a Galveston ice cream shop with a stranger in a white van. That was on November 15, 1971, just three months after the disappearance of Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw. Their bodies were recovered two days later in Turner Bayou in Texas City and Dickinson. Their hands and feet had been tied with rope, they were partially disrobed and they had been shot to death.Debbie and Maria were also water sport enthusiasts. Debbie was a skier and regularly participated in the Annual Polar Bear Water Ski Races on Offatts Bayou. "They used to ride in my boat" said Johnnie Wix. On one occasion she was driving the boat pulling a local skier, Bubba Forrester, and Debbie and Maria were in the boat watching him ski barefoot. Forrester was a trick skier, performing various acrobats while skimming across the water at break-neck speeds.

He and Maria had dated at one time.All of these kids traveled in the same circles. They skied at Wix school or at least hitched rides on or behind one of the Wix high-speed boats that ran from the pier at 6211 Avenue L. They all went to Dairy Queen, they all went to Jerrico's Surf Shop on 61st, they all went around to Coach Kelly's sailboat docks, they all went to Conway's swimming pool and they all hung around Doug's Surf and Dive Shop which was two blocks off 61st Street on Avenue S and in which Ed Bell was part owner.The original owner of the shop was a man by the name of Doug Pruns, described by some as " A Galveston Original " Pruns made quality surfboards and sponsored a Surf Club involving 27 teenage boys and girls. Until recently he had never been contacted by police in the investigation of Debbie Ackerman, Maria Johnson or any of the other missing and slain youths
of the larger segment of society.Living upstairs in Lloyd Kelly's house was the man whose name we continue to run across as we investigate the murders of these girls, Edward Harold Bell. He and his wife Debbie rented the upstairs from Coach Lloyd Kelly.

It also included Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson who were last seen driving away from a Galveston ice cream shop with a stranger in a white van. That was on November 15, 1971, just three months after the disappearance of Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw. Their bodies were recovered two days later in Turner Bayou in Texas City and Dickinson. Their hands and feet had been tied with rope, they were partially disrobed and they had been shot to death.

Debbie and Maria were also water sport enthusiasts. Debbie was a skier and regularly participated in the Annual Polar Bear Water Ski Races on Offatts Bayou. "They used to ride in my boat" said Johnnie Wix. On one occasion she was driving the boat pulling a local skier, Bubba Forrester, and Debbie and Maria were in the boat watching him ski barefoot. Forrester was a trick skier, performing various acrobats while skimming across the water at break-neck speeds. He and Maria had dated at one time.

All of these kids traveled in the same circles. They skied at Wix school or at least hitched rides on or behind one of the Wix high-speed boats that ran from the pier at 6211 Avenue L. They all went to Dairy Queen, they all went to Jerrico's Surf Shop on 61st, they all went around to Coach Kelly's sailboat docks, they all went to Conway's swimming pool and they all hung around Doug's Surf and Dive Shop which was two blocks off 61st Street on Avenue S and in which Ed Bell was part owner.

The original owner of the shop was a man by the name of Doug Pruns, described by some as " A Galveston Original " Pruns made quality surfboards and sponsored a Surf Club involving 27 teenage boys and girls. Until recently he had never been contacted by police in the investigation of Debbie Ackerman, Maria Johnson or any of the other missing and slain youths.



"One of the first thing that he told me was that he always expected the police to come speak with him back then because Debbie and Marie were spending a lot of time at his surf shop," said Detective Paige.

According to published reports, after the discovery of the two girls skeletal remains in Taylor Bayou, the Webster Police Department enlisted the aid of The Special Crimes Unit of the Galveston and Texas City Police who were engaged in probing the murders of three teenage girls who had been found bound and shot or strangled in a bayou between Texas City and Galveston over the past month. According to news reports at the time, the officers, armed with photos of Sharon and Rhonda, canvassed the entire area of the Seawall Boulevard and the 61st Street Bridge as well as the neighborhood around the surf club. They questioned scores of men, women and young people who frequented the area daily, but none could recall having seen Rhonda and Sharon. they did locate one girl, who was known by the yellow convertible that she drove, who knew the girls well. She said that she had seen them about 9 o'clock that morning on Seawall Boulevard. They asked her if she was going to Webster and could they have a ride with her. The girl told them she would be going to Webster about 11 o'clock and if they would meet her at the 61st Street Bridge they could ride back with her. She told investigators that she was there at eleven but the girls did not show up.

By the time this sweep was taking place, the bodies of Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson had also been discovered, yet Doug Pruns said that no investigator had ever been in his shop or questioned him about any of these girls and this is the shop that was co-owned by Ed Bell.

So far, Paige's investigation has established sufficient reason to believe that Rhonda Johnson, Sharon Shaw, Debbie Ackerman, and Maria Johnson were all traveling in the same circles and probably knew eachother. It is reasonable to believe that each of them also crossed paths with convicted killer Ed Bell who not only was part owner of Doug's Surf and Dive Shop where the girls went, but he and his wife Debbie lived on Bayouvu Street, where the Conway Swimming Pool and Lloyd Kelly's Sailing Scool were located.

What about Michael Lloyd Self, the man that Webster Police arrested and who was convicted of murdering Rhonda Johnson ? Detective Fred Paige says without reservation that Self was framed by some rogue cops who forced a confession and committed crimes themselves while making a case against Self.

In his confession to then Webster Police Chief Don Morris and Assistant Chief Tommy Deal on June 9, 1972, Self said that on August 4, 1971, the day the girls went to Galveston, he met Rhonda Renee Johnson walking on El Comino Real in Webster and picked her up. They supposedly went to the Clear Lake Yacht Club where they met Sharon Shaw and the three went to Taylor Lake where they parked and drank beer.

According to his confession, Self tried to elicit sex from one of the girls. She rebuked him and a fight ensued. self said he grabbed a Coke bottle and beat the girls to death.

"One of the problems I have with the confession," says Detective Paige "Is that no one saw the girls in Webster on August 4 and the autopsy report indicated no trauma of any kind to their skulls.

During the early 70s, The City Of Webster and their police department were wrought in political turmoil. As it turns out, the mayor at the time of the girl's murders was Charles Johnson, Rhonda Johnson's grandfather. There are reports that Rhonda may have been living with her grandfather at the time.

In may of 1972 some, who were there at the time, say Mayor Johnson got fed up with the Webster Police Department's inability to find the killer of his granddaughter so he "gutted" the department firing everyone.

He immediately hired Texas Highway Patrol Officer Don Morris as his new Chief of Police and another Highway patrolman, Tommy Deal, as the new Assistant Chief of Police. Both were Troopers in the Beaumont area. Morris, in turn, hired one of his old buddies, George Marshall, as a Sergeant. They became the new Webster Police Department.

Within nine days of Morris and Deal taking over the Police Department, they arrested Michael Self and charged him with murdering the mayor's granddaughter.

This is nowhere near the end of the story. We will tae it up again in our September issue.For now, we will report that during the time that Police Chief Don Morris and Assistant Police Chief Tommy Deal were investigating Michael Self and making their case against him for the murder of two girls, they themselves were robbing banks all across Texas. They were both later convicted in a series of bank robberies. Tommy Deal is still serving his sentence in the Federal Penitentiary in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The killing of young girls in the Galveston County area continued until the arrest of Edward Harold Bell in August 1978 for the murder of Larry Dickens in Pasadena which we reported in our May edition. He is now serving a 70 year sentence in the Texas Penitentiary for that murder plus ten more years for indecent exposure connected to the murder.

Detective Fred Paige told "The Police News" in preperation for this story "I am convinced that Edward Harold Bell killed Rhonda Johnson and Sharon Shaw in August of 1971. I am also convinced that he killed Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson in November of 1971. I also believe that he killed 12-year-old Brooks Bracewell and 14-year-old Georgia Geer of Dickinson in September of 1974, and others."

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Old 07-19-2007, 08:46 PM
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The Odessa American
Wednesday, December 1, 1971

CHARGES FILED IN ONE HOUSTON AREA KILLING

Willis Texas (AP) Officers here have made the first arrest in seven slayings of young women in the Houston area since June. They charged James M. Whittle, 28, A Houston wrecker driver with the murder of a 16-year-old girl but they said he is not a suspect in the deaths of six other young women.

Whittle was accused of murder with malice in the shooting Nov. 2 of Adell Margaret Crabtree, 16. She was struck by two shotgun charges.

Miss Crabtree, from Cincinnati Ohio was living in Houston at the time of her death. Houston police said she was pregnant. The body was found near Conroe Nov. 3.

Montgomery County Sheriff Gene Reaves said Whittle failed a lie detector test earlier in the day. He was held in lieu of $25,000 bond.

Reaves said he did not believe Whittle would be a suspect in any of the other six deaths of young women whose bodies have been found around Houston and Galveston since last summer.

Meanwhile, officers researching an area near Addicks Reservoir where two bodies turned up last week, discovered a skull. They said it belonged to Gloria Gonzalez, 19, whose headless body was found last Wednesday.

Harris County Sheriff C.V. Kern said the skull found near the Gonzalez body Wednesday has been identified as that of Collette Wilson,13, of Alvin. Her skeleton was located Friday as lawmen searched for additional evidence in the death of Miss Gonzalez.

Also slain were:

Linda Faye Sutherlin, who disappeared November 3. Her body was found four days later in a ditch beside a rural road in Brazoria County. She had been killed with a shotgun.

Marie Johnson and Debbie Ackerman, both 15-year-old pupils, at Ball High School in Galveston. The bodies were found November 17 in Turner's bayou near Texas City with hands and feet bound. They had been missing a day. Each was shot in the head with a pistol.

The nude body of Brenda Jones , 14, was found floating face-down in Galveston Bay in June. She had been missing about a day and had been strangled, officers said.

Officers from all over the two county area who conferred Monday agreed that only the Gonzalez and Wilson girl's deaths were related.


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The Odessa American,
December 1, 1971

2 MORE BODIES ARE FOUND NEAR TEXAS CITY

Texas City TX (AP) A passerby discovered the second double murder near Texas City in two weeks early today.

Police were summoned by a bread truck driver who told them he spotted the bodies of two young men about two miles south and west of here around 4 a.m.

Police Lt. Savas Saragossa say one victim lay in a parked car and the other in a ditch about 30 feet behind the vehicle. Both had been shot in the head.

Officers estimated the dead men were in their 20s. They did not identify either one positively at once.

The slayings occurred as officers of two counties pressed an investigation into a total of seven murders since last June in this same general vicinity around Houston and Galveston. All the other victims were young women.

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The Odessa American
Sunday, February 27, 1972

MEDICAL CHECKS MADE ON BODY BY AUTHORITIES

Houston (AP) Medical authorities here performed tests Saturday on a badly decomposed body found in Pearland, the 10th such discovery made in the Houston-Galveston area since last summer.

The body, apparentely that of a young girl, was found Friday in Brazoria County, just across the Harris County boundary.

A school boy cutting across wooded lots on his way home discovered the body, believed to be that of a 10-12 year old girl.

The body was nude except for shoes and a pair of glasses said Capt. W.W. Fisher of the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

Dr. Sheldon Green of the Harris County's Medical Examiner's staff said death occurred one to two months ago, the site of the discovery is 13 miles south of downtown Houston, and about four miles from the place where other bones were found January 29.

Green said the remains are complete except for missing hands, one arm, some of the ribs and half of the vertebrae.

Sgt. C.D. Kennedy of the Pearland Police Department said the site was an undeveloped city block, covered with brush, trees and tall grass.

Friday's discovery brought to three the number of bodies of youths found in the Houston-Galveston area since November.

The first of the ten bodies discovered in the area turned up last summer. It was the bound and gagged body of Brenda Jones, 14, found floating in Galveston Bay.

The bodies of Maria Johnson, 15, and Debbie Ackerman, Galveston High School pupils, were found bound and shot Nov. 7 in Turners Bayou near Texas City.

A week later, two bodies were discovered in Addicks reservoir, west of Houston. They were identified as those of Gloria Gonzalez,19, of Houston, and Collette Wilson, 13, of Alvin.

In September, the skeleton of an unidentified young boy was found near Taylor Bayou in the Manned Spacecraft Center area.

In January and February, the bodies of two girls were discovered in the same area. They were identified as Sharon Shaw, of Clear Lake City, and Rhonda Renee Johnson, 14, of Webster.

The body of an unidentified young person was found near Almeda Mall, in Southeast Houston, several weeks ago.

No arrests have been made in any of the slayings.

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The Galveston Daily News
July 10, 1977

13-YEAR-OLD STILL MISSING

"Seems Like The Earth Swallowed Her," Policeman Says

Seven weeks have passed since 13-year-old Suzanne Bowers disappeared while returning home from her grandmother's.

Neither her family or the police have heard from her or anything definate about her in that time.

Her mother, Mrs. Ralph Bowers, said recently that the girl had never run away and she didn't feel there was any evidence that she ran away May 21 either, "All the money she had saved for a choir trip is still here, as are all of her clothes. Her friends are all accounted for. She didn't run away."

Mrs. Bowers said she spoke with Assistant Police Chief Eddie Barr Thursday and was told that the police were checking every lead they get.

"We just don't know what has happened. It's as if she was swallowed up in thin air," she said "We have no clues, she's just gone."

The 90 pound girl, just shy of five feet tall, was returning home to get her bathing suit when she was last seen.

"I feel she was in such a hurry to get the bathing suit that she got in a car with someone we knew," Mrs. Bowers said.

Suzanne has shoulder length brown hair and green eyes.

Lt. Walter Lacy, head of the criminal investigation division of the Galveston Police Department said he and his detectives have yet to recieve a strong lead to the child's whereabouts "There is nothing to lead us past the possibility of runaway," he said.

Detectives have accumulated a thick file on Suzanne and have requested cooperation from various agencies around the country, Lacy said. Her picture is currently printed in the Texas Department of Public Safety Bulletin.

"We don't want to feel anything has happened. We've had so many kids run away. She's had no previous record of being a runaway," he said.

Police said that all of the girl's relatives have been contacted in case Suzanne shows up at their homes but it "seems like the earth swallowed her up."

Lacy said detectives are always receiving calls on someone who looks somewhat like Suzanne, but no positive identification has been received.

Those who see a girl that looks very much like her often report to the police hours or a day later, he said.

......

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