In 1970, Houston Texas was growing extremely fast. So fast in fact that the understaffed, under budgeted police force was overwhelmed with just trying to keep the crime rate under control. When young men and boys started being reported as “missing” from the ‘poor’ side of town, little to no action to search for them was taken. To the dismay of parents, the authorities would write the children off as runaways and pretty much be done with it.
And that was the perfect scenario for Dean Corll, a 24 year old who was better known in his community of the Houston Heights as the Candy Man.
Dean and his mother ran a small candy shop in the Heights and Dean was famous for giving the free candy samples to the children in the area. In his community, Dean was considered a real nice guy.
What he truly was however, was a homosexual rapist and serial killer who would, in the span of three years, rape, torture, murder and mutilate more than 28 young men and boys, every one of whom were listed as runaways with the Houston police department.
One of his favorite children was a kid named David Brooks. By the time David was 15, he had dropped out of high school, spent most of his time with Corll and was paid in cash or gifts to allow the ‘Candy Man’ to perform oral sex on him. In 1968, the candy company closed and Corll went to work as an electrician. But his eye never left the children of the Heights. And his young would-be accomplice, David, who had been well groomed into acceptance and submission to Corll since he was 12 years old, would eventually help him reach demented depths that, when finally discovered, would shock and sicken a nation.
From 1970 to 1973, Corll, flying comfortably under every radar, (remember that the authorities are not looking for missing kids at this point) managed to live out his sadistic, homosexual fantasies of rape, torture, murder and mutilation on the young men and boys of the Heights. David, and now another 15 year old by the name of Wayne Henley, would abduct or lure classmates or acquaintances into Corll’s death grip. Each new victim was worth $200.00 so, even knowing the horrible fate that was about to befall the youngsters, didn’t sway either of them away.
Corll’s victims, all between the ages of 13 and 20, were lured into his grip via an offer of a party of alcohol or drugs. Once at his home, Corll would serve alcohol and drugs until the young, unsuspecting guest would pass out or was subdued enough to be overpowered.
When the victim would awake, they would find themselves stripped naked, handcuffed and bound, face down and spread eagle, on what was referred to by Corll as ‘the torture board.’ They would be raped, sexually assaulted with objects, tortured and, when the mood hit him, murdered by strangulation, suffocation or shooting. Their bodies would then be wrapped in plastic and buried, with the help of his cohorts, in any one of his four favored dumping grounds.
For the next two and a half years David Brooks and Wayne Henley would earn their money quite well and quite often. Corll was a happy camper and living the dream.
Until one evening, in 1973, when Wayne Henley made a fatal mistake.
Henley was delivering Tim, the latest would-be-victim to a ‘party’ at Corll’s, but he first collected his girlfriend, 15 year old Rhonda Williams, who was fleeing her abusive father that night. When the three arrived at Dean’s door, he was livid! He quickly calmed however and the party of booze, glue sniffing and drugs went full speed ahead. Soon everyone, except Corll, was passed out cold.
When Henley came to, it was to the sound of handcuffs being snapped onto his own wrists. Beside him lay Rhonda, bound at her wrists and ankles and gagged. On his other side lay Tim, bound the same way, except he had been stripped naked. Corll too stood completely undressed.
Corll was furious over Henley bringing a girl to his house. Kicking at Rhonda repeatedly and waving a pistol around wildly, Dean screamed out that his intent was to kill them all after he had raped and tortured Tim.
Henley, of course knowing EXACTLY what was in store for himself and the others, used all he could to calm Corll. Henley even promised to take part in torturing and murdering both Tim and Rhonda.
Dean finally calmed and released Henley. He then moved Tim and Rhonda to the bedroom and bound both of them to opposite ends of the ‘torture’ board. Rhonda was bound to the board face up. Tim was bound to the board face down and spread eagle.
Hensley did his best to ‘rape’ Rhonda but when the moment presented itself, Henley acted. He asked Corll if he could take Rhonda to another room. When Corll, who was well into the torture that he was inflicting on Tim, ignored him, Henley took the opportunity to grab the pistol that Dean had laid aside. He aimed it at Corll.
“You’ve gone far enough, Dean!” Henley shouted.
Corll reacted. He moved toward Henley. “You won’t do it!”
Henley pulled the trigger. Six times.
Corll staggered out of the room and slowly slid down the wall in the hallway. Dean Corll, ‘the Candy Man’, was dead.
Henley dialed 911 and told the dispatcher that he’d just shot a man to death.
While in custody, Henley proceeded to piece together a scenario that the authorities found hard to believe. He revealed that he and David Brooks had, for nearly three years, abducted or lured 28 young men and boys, some of whom had even been their friends, classmates and acquaintances over the years, for Dean Corll, to rape, torture, murder and mutilate. He admitted as well, that both he and Brooks had often participated in the murders and the burials of the bodies.
And then he started rattling off names, all of whom had been reported as missing or runaways through the Houston PD at one point or another over the last several years.
When Corll’s house was searched, they found that the bedroom floor was completely covered in plastic, they found the torture board, handcuffs, hunting knives, large rolls of plastic, dildo’s of various sizes and shapes, ropes, tiny glass tubes and rolls of duct tape. The investigators decided that Henley was telling the truth. A sadistic, serial killer had lived and worked among them and had committed horrific atrocities right under their noses.
Henley led the police to the first of four favored burial sites. There, the police would discover the first eight bodies.
All of the victims found had been sodomized and sexually tortured. Cloth rags had been inserted into the victims’ mouths with tape then wound around their head and faces to muffle their screams. Genitals had been chewed on or castrated altogether. Objects had been pushed into their rectums. Tiny tubes, exactly like those found at Corll’s home had been shoved into the victims urethrae, then smashed. All of the victims were wrapped up in large pieces of plastic. Many of them mutilated.
Before the nightmare would end, 27 bodies would be unearthed. The most prolific serial killer to date had been reveal! And, it is believed, that had Henley not shot Corll that night, he and the others, Rhonda and Tim, would be just as dead and buried along side the others and that Corll would have continued, undiscovered, for only God knows how long, raising the body count in what is, to this day, referred to as the ‘Houston Mass Murders’.
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