Main article: Texarkana Moonlight Murders In , Texarkana was in fear of an unidentified serial killer who attacked eight people, five of whom were murdered. The local paper dubbed him "The Phantom Killer". The attacks became known as the " Texarkana Moonlight Murders " by the news media. Since the killer was never identified or apprehended, the description of the killer came from the only two survivors.
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Hollis was hospitalized for several days to recover from multiple skull fractures, but both survived the attack. Texarkana residents can help in this investigation and at the same time, if they are not careful, they can hinder the investigation and cause the officers to spend many hours following blind trails.
Persons who have information which might furnish a clue to the identity of the slayer or slayers or which might indicate a motive for the crime should not divulge such information on street corners or at cold drink stands but should immediately make it available to the officers.
Do not spread rumors regardless of how many bases for the fact there is in them. Before long the story grows to such proportions as to necessitate a detailed investigation by the officers, thereby perhaps pulling them off the true trail and sending them up a blind alley.
Stick to facts that you know of your own personal knowledge and relay those facts as quickly as possible to the officers. Griffin was found between the front seats on his knees with his head resting on his crossed hands and his pockets turned inside out; Moore was found sprawled face-down in the back seat. Griffin had been shot twice while still in the car; both had been shot once in the back of the head, and both were fully clothed. Sunday morning, April 14, her friend Paul Martin, age 17, arrived to pick her up from the performance.
Weaver and their son, lying on its left side by the northern edge of North Park Road. He had been shot four times—once through the nose, again through the left fourth rib from behind, a third time in the right hand, and finally through the back of the neck. She was found by members of the Boyd family, along with their friend Ted Schoeppey, who had joined the search party.
Her body was lying on its back, fully clothed, with the right hand in the pocket of the buttoned overcoat. Booker had been shot twice, once through the chest and once in the face. It was parked outside Spring Lake Park with the keys still in it. The authorities were not sure who was shot first. Sheriff Presley and Texas Ranger Captain Manuel Gonzaullas said that examinations of the bodies indicated that they both had put up a terrific struggle. He sat in his armchair in the sitting room, which was just off of the kitchen and the bedroom.
While Katie was in her bedroom lying on the bed in her nightgown, she heard something from the backyard and asked Virgil to turn down the radio. Seconds later, while Virgil was reading the May 3rd edition of the Texarkana Gazette, two shots were fired into the back of his head from a closed double-window 3 feet 0.
Katie did not hear the gunshots; instead, she heard what "sounded like the breaking of glass". She thought Virgil had dropped something and went to see what happened. As she entered the doorway to the living room, she saw Virgil stand up and then suddenly slump back into his chair. When she realized he was dead, she ran to the phone to call the police. She rang the wall-crank phone two times before being shot twice in the face from the same window.
One bullet entered her right cheek and exited behind her left ear. She dropped to her knees but soon managed to get back on her feet. She thought she was going to be killed, so she stumbled toward her bedroom near the front of the house to leave a note. Meanwhile, the killer ran to the back of the house and made his way up the steps and into the side-screened porch through the back screen door.
She heard the killer coming through the kitchen window, so she turned around and ran through the dining room, through the bedroom, down a hallway, through another bedroom, and then into the living room and out the front door, leaving behind a "virtual river of blood" and teeth throughout the house and across the street. Prater answered her call for help. Prater called to Taylor to bring his car because Mr. Starks had been shot. Taylor, along with Mr.
Prater and their baby, rode with Mrs. Starks gave Mr. Taylor, the driver, one of her teeth with a gold filling. She was in a semi-conscious state, slumping forward on the front seat.
Although she lost a considerable amount of blood, she showed no signs of going into shock and her heart rate remained normal. Miller County Sheriff W. Davis, who became head of the investigation, questioned Mrs. Starks in the operating room. Four days later, Sheriff Davis talked with Mrs. Starks again at the hospital. Starks discounted a circulating rumor that Virgil had heard a car outside their home several nights in a row and feared of being killed.
Some of the reports were contradictory. One of the officers said that they found Starks still slumped in the blood-soaked chair, and that the chair had caught fire from the electric heating pad. In the house, investigators found a trail of blood with scattered teeth. On the dining room table were Mrs. Gonzaullas, after seeing the "virtual river of blood", stated, "it is beyond me why she did not bleed to death. Three clues were found at the scene. The first was the caliber of bullets.
The second was a flashlight found in the hedge underneath the window that Starks was shot from. The last clue was bloody prints around the house: shoe-prints on the kitchen floor and smudged fingerprints in other places. Sheriff Davis stated that although this murder could not be directly linked to the Phantom because the caliber was a.
They found two trails that led to the highway before the scent was lost. By Sunday night, more State Police officers were called in to help in the investigation and aid in protecting the local civilians.
Officers had detained at least twelve suspects but only kept three for further questioning. Forty-seven officers were working around the clock to solve the mysteries. The flashlight was sent to Washington, D. Meanwhile, Mrs. Starks was showing improvements at Michael Meagher Hospital. The unofficial theory for a motive amongst the majority of the 47 officers was that of "sex mania" because large amounts of money in the home were not taken, nor was Mrs.
Gonzaullas stated that the unit, which was "one of the best in the country", would be accompanied by a fleet of prowl cars furnished with two-way radio equipment, which would allow the officers to converse not only with headquarters but between cars as well.
A clerk from the Bowie County selective service Board No. Another clerk from the Miller County draft board stated that no request for examination of her files had been made. Both explained that their reports would reveal information such as thumbprints, rifleman awards, and mental and physical conditions of the registrants.
That night, during a radio interview, Gonzaullas asked residents to help the investigation by refraining from spreading and repeating rumors. He stated, "These only take the officers from the main route of the investigation. It is so important that we capture this man that we cannot afford to overlook any lead, no matter how fantastic it may seem. Captain Gonzaullas placed it into operation immediately. A correspondent from the International News Service made reservations to come to the city and cover the story.
He said that the reward monies would be kept in deposit slips, which would make it easier to return the money back to the donors if needed. On Thursday morning, May 9, Sheriff Davis was notified that the flashlight found at the Starks murder scene contained no fingerprints.
On Wednesday, May 29, a colored picture on the front page of the Texarkana Gazette showed the flashlight. This is a two-cell, all-metal flashlight, both ends of which are painted red.
Three rivets hold the head of the flashlight to the body of the light. There has been only a limited number of these lights sold in this area. If you have owned or know of anyone who owned one of these lights, report at once to Sheriff W.
You may be the one to aid in solving the phantom slayings. Runnels asked for any information on missing persons on the nights of the murders. Presley and Chief of Police Jack Runnels want persons having such knowledge to report to them immediately," said the newspaper.
In a joint statement, the officers declared: We want every man and woman in these two counties to recall the dates of these murders and also to recall whether or not any person close to them was missing or out of the pocket during those nights.
Persons who have such information and have been withholding it when they know they should report it are leaving themselves open to possible charges of complicity in the event the slayer is captured. Make no mistake about the fact that the slayer will be captured because we will not give up this hunt until he has been captured or killed. All information received will be treated confidentially. We urge you to come in and tell what you know. This is no time to take any chance on information which might lead us to the slayer.
This maniac must be captured. We believe that we are justified in going to any ends to halt this chain of murder. Bear in mind--this killer may strike at anyone. He may strike at persons close to him. For that reason, we believe any person with information that may lead us to the murderer should act in the interest of self-preservation.
It was in operation later that night. Gonzaullas explained that the machine would aid in the investigation by connecting them with other law enforcement offices in Texas. They mentioned that if the slayer of Mr. By November , authorities no longer considered the Starks murder connected to the other double-murders.
Many people believed that the slayer had been caught. Some believed he was being held at the Bowie County Jail surrounded by Texas Rangers with submachine guns on their knees.
Texarkana metropolitan area
Hollis was hospitalized for several days to recover from multiple skull fractures, but both survived the attack. Texarkana residents can help in this investigation and at the same time, if they are not careful, they can hinder the investigation and cause the officers to spend many hours following blind trails. Persons who have information which might furnish a clue to the identity of the slayer or slayers or which might indicate a motive for the crime should not divulge such information on street corners or at cold drink stands but should immediately make it available to the officers. Do not spread rumors regardless of how many bases for the fact there is in them. Before long the story grows to such proportions as to necessitate a detailed investigation by the officers, thereby perhaps pulling them off the true trail and sending them up a blind alley. Stick to facts that you know of your own personal knowledge and relay those facts as quickly as possible to the officers. Griffin was found between the front seats on his knees with his head resting on his crossed hands and his pockets turned inside out; Moore was found sprawled face-down in the back seat.
SliceFixer Encyclopedia Texarkana 2012.pdf
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