Vigil planned to honor memories of ‘Killing Fields’ victims; families push for more answers

On Oct. 7, 1983, Heidi Villarreal Fye disappeared. Her body was found the following April in an area off Calder Road in League City. The area would later be known as “The Killing Fields.”

Between 1984 and 1991, the bodies of four women were found in this area and their murders remain unsolved.

“She didn’t deserve what happened to her, none of these girls did,” said Nina Jager, Fye’s niece.

Jager said Fye brightened any room she entered and acted more like a big sister than an aunt. Fye had a 5-year-old daughter at the time she was murdered.

“She always made everyone in the room laugh and you knew just how adored she was by my grandfather. That was his baby girl,” Jager said.

This Saturday, Jager and her family are holding a vigil at the spot where Fye, Audrey Cook, Donna Prudhomme and Laura Miller were found murdered. Laura is the daughter of Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller. The vigil will start between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in an area behind Magnolia Creek Baptist Church at 3535 Calder Rd. in League City.

The area behind the church is where the bodies of the four women were found. Miller turned the area into a memorial for the women with crosses marking each spot where the bodies were found. Jager said the public is invited to attend the vigil.

“It’s our duty and our responsibility to not let them be forgotten,” said Jager. “We vowed to never let it just go away, we just weren’t going to go away.”

While no one has ever been charged with the murders, Clyde Hedrick has been publicly named as a suspect. Hedrick lived in the area at the time the women were killed but has denied any involvement.

Hedrick was convicted in 2014 of involuntary manslaughter related to the death of Ellen Beason in 1984. Beason’s death was originally listed as undetermined and Hedrick claimed she accidentally drowned. Hedrick was charged in 1986 with abuse of a corpse after admitting to hiding Beason’s body under the Galveston Causeway.

Galveston County prosecutors re-opened Beason’s case after new forensic evidence showed she died from a blow to the back of the head. Hedrick was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was paroled in 2022.

Jager said Saturday’s vigil brings renewed hope somebody will come forward with information that will finally lead to an arrest in the murders.

“When something like this happens in your family, it does fracture the whole family dynamic forever. There is always that missing chair or that missing smile or that missing laugh in the room whenever you get together as family and it’s hard to ignore that,” said Jager.


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.”