A new lead or another ghost in 'Killing Fields' murders?

GALVESTON COUNTY – Documents filed as part of decades old murder case in Galveston County hint at a possible link to other crimes that have haunted the Houston area since the early 1980s.

Court records read Clyde Edwin Hedrick, 60, was charged last year with the 1984 murder of Ellen Ray Beason.

However, in recent court filings, prosecutors indicated there is a possibility that information from the murders of Laura Miller and Heidi Marie Fye may be used during Hedrick's upcoming trial.

"You know, 30 years have been miserable," said Tim Miller, founder of Texas EquuSearch. "Thoughts of suicide, frustrations. I can't even explain it."

Miller's 16-year-old daughter, Laura, was murdered in 1984. Her name took its place among those known as "The Killing Fields" murders. A cross still marks the spot off Calder Road near Interstate 45 where her body was found.

Laura's death is also what led to the creation of Texas EquuSearch, an all volunteer organization that has criss-crossed the country in search of lost loved ones.

"There's only one reason we're standing in front of this building right now, is because of Laura," said Miller. "If Laura was still alive, there wouldn't be an EquuSearch."

Laura Miller and Fye's murders were never solved, and over the years suspects names have come and gone. Hedrick's name came to light after he was arrested in April and charged with Beason's murder. Beason disappeared in July of 1984; her body was discovered several months later wedged under a discarded couch along side of Old Causeway Road.

A death certificate filed as part of the case against Hedrick showed Beason's cause of death was originally listed as "unknown." However, Beason's body was exhumed and re-examined in 2011. Investigators said a forensic pathologist determined Beason had a skull fracture due to blunt force trauma. A detail missed during the original autopsy. A joint investigation by the Galveston County Sheriff's Office, the FBI and the League City Police Department led to Hedrick's arrest.

At the time Beason's body was discovered, Hedrick was charged with abuse of a corpse. Hedrick admits he was with Beason the day she died, but insists she drowned.

"I met her that day and we went swimming in the Dickinson sand pit," Hedrick told Local 2 Investigates during an interview at the Galveston County Jail. "My truck got stuck and when I got it out I went to get Ellen and she was floating the water. I pulled her out and tried to do CPR."

Hedrick said there were four other people swimming with him and Beason that day, but he does not know the identity of those individuals and said they had left before she drowned.

"I put her body in my truck to take her to the hospital but on the way I panicked that no one would believe me that she drowned," Hedrick said. "Paranoia set in, I knew I couldn't drive around with a dead body in my truck so I stopped. Then I realized I had to pee. While I was 'peeing' I saw the couch and thought I would put her there while I went to get help."

Hedrick said he tried to tell his sister what happened, but claims his sister told him "it was just a bad dream." Hedrick said others who saw him leave with Beason to go swimming wouldn't help him either.

Tucked away in the prosecution's file regarding Beason's death is a document titled, "State's Supplemental Notice Of Intent To Use Evidence Of Other Crimes, Wrongs, Or Acts."

The document reads, "Defendant had sex with Laura Miller and then intentionally and knowingly killed her." Prosecutors also wrote, "Defendant intentionally or knowingly killed Heidi Marie Fye."

Fye's body was found in the same field where Laura Miller was discovered.

"Is there some anxiety going on, of course there is," said Miller. "I certainly can't elaborate on anything right now. I don't want to say one thing that's going to jeopardize this trial."

Hedrick denies killing or even knowing Laura Miller and Fye.

"They're trying to pin me for the 'Killing Fields' murders," Hedrick told Local 2. "I didn't kill her. I didn't even know her. I've never hurt anybody in my life. I don't hurt women."

Neither prosecutors nor Hedrick's attorney, Jeremy Ducote, would comment directly on the case. However, both characterized the state's filing as procedural and only an indication that information on Miller's and Fye's cases may come up during the trial. Both Ducote and prosecutors also pointed out that Hedrick is only charged with Beason's murder.

While Miller also would not comment directly on the case surrounding Hedrick, he said it is hard not to kindle a small flame of hope that one day he may finally find out what happened to his daughter.

"Hopefully the day will come when we can get some kind of closure," said Miller. "Laura's death wasn't in vain, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been damn painful buddy."

Hedrick is not expected to go on trial until March.

About the Author:

Award winning investigative journalist who joined KPRC 2 in July 2000. Husband and father of the Master of Disaster and Chaos Gremlin. “I don’t drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.”