Courts

10 Notorious Unsolved Texas Murders

Executing more inmates than any other state, Texas has perfected the art of ultimate punishment. Under the watch of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the executioner has employed a number of tactics to punish the innocent and the guilty from a noose around their neck until 1924 to a ride with “Old Sparky” until 1964. Today, the state uses lethal injection and prides itself on its humane way of sending death row inmates — more than 500 and counting — to their final judgement.

Texas is known for its tough stance on crime. But one thing it would rather not be known for is the number of unsolved crimes filling cold case files across the state from chainsaw attacks to strangulations. Many criminals make a run for the Texas’ southern border where every day is Christmas for serial killers who find employment with the cartels.

In light of the discovery of missing University of North Texas college student Kelly Cox, whose bones were found buried in South Texas, the Dallas Observer delved into missing person files to showcase 10 cases awaiting the executioner’s justice.

1. Too Many Victims Names to List
1970s to present


Dubbed the “Killing Fields,” the stretch of Interstate 45 between Galveston and Houston has become the preferred dumping grounds for serial killers. Since the 1970s, more than 30 young women and girls’ bodies have been found along that desolate 50-mile stretch of highway. Some of the murders have been solved by convicted murderer Edward Howard Bell, who claimed 11 bodies in a letter written to police in 1998. One 13-year-old victim was linked to another man arrested in 2009. But the rest of the murders remain unsolved.

2. Carolyn Montgomery
August 1971

A 28-year-old North Dallas cocktail waitress, Carolyn Montgomery was killed with kitchen knives and found dead on her living room floor with a larger knife still in her throat and a smaller one protruding from her abdomen. She was mutilated while her 6-year-old son slept in his room. 



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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.