‘Candy Man’ Dean Corll was shot dead 48 years ago. Texas EquuSearch will soon begin searching for the remains of any additional victims

Corll’s killing spree ended Aug. 8, 1973 when, during a violent fight at Corll’s home accomplice Elmer Wayne Henley fatally shot Corll multiple times with a .22 caliber pistol. It was then that Henley confessed to police all that he knew and led police to the graves of the dead. Jack Cato, a reporter for KPRC 2, accompanied Henley and police as Henley led them to a shed where he and Corll had buried some of the murder victims. Cato allowed Henley to call his mother on his telephone and captured the conversation on film. Henley is heard saying the words, “Mama, I killed Dean” into the receiver.
Corll’s killing spree ended Aug. 8, 1973 when, during a violent fight at Corll’s home accomplice Elmer Wayne Henley fatally shot Corll multiple times with a .22 caliber pistol. It was then that Henley confessed to police all that he knew and led police to the graves of the dead. Jack Cato, a reporter for KPRC 2, accompanied Henley and police as Henley led them to a shed where he and Corll had buried some of the murder victims. Cato allowed Henley to call his mother on his telephone and captured the conversation on film. Henley is heard saying the words, “Mama, I killed Dean” into the receiver.

48 years ago, Dean Corll, one of the country’s most prolific serial killers, was shot dead at his home in Pasadena, Texas. Texas EquuSearch announced Sunday it will soon begin searching for the remains of any additional victims.

Between 1970 and 1973, Dean Corll, murdered at least 28 young boys in the Houston area. The killings were dubbed the Houston Mass Murders, and at the time, they were considered the worst serial murders in U.S. history.

Corll, an electrician and former candy store owner (hence his moniker), conscripted the help of teens David Owen Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley to lure other boys to his apartment, where they were handcuffed and shackled to a plywood torture board before being sexually assaulted and killed, according to the Associated Press.

Corll’s killing spree ended Aug. 8, 1973 when, during a violent fight at Corll’s home accomplice Henley fatally shot Corll multiple times with a .22 caliber pistol.

It was then that Henley confessed to police all that he knew and led police to the graves of the dead. Jack Cato, a reporter for KPRC 2, accompanied Henley and police as Henley led them to a shed where he and Corll had buried some of the murder victims. Cato allowed Henley to call his mother on his telephone and captured the conversation on film. Henley is heard saying the words, “Mama, I killed Dean” into the receiver.

Corll’s known victims were found in mass graves located across the Greater Houston Area. Four bodies were buried in San Augustine near Lake Sam Rayburn in East Texas; seven were buried on the beach at High Island in Southeast Texas; and 17 were buried in a Houston boathouse of Corll’s, according to the Associated Press.

Some had cords wrapped around their necks, and tape strapped around their feet and mouths and a few had been sexually mutilated, according to the Associated Press. Most of the bodies were badly decomposed and difficult to identify.

Henley and Brooks were both convicted for their roles in the Houston Mass Murders. Henley is serving six consecutive life sentences. Brooks died in a Galveston prison hospital in May 2020 due to complications related to COVID-19, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Texas EquuSearch believes that a significant number of Corll’s young victims that haven’t yet been found. Henley himself admitted not all the killer’s victims had been found, according to Texas EquuSearch.

“They actually killed so many … that the heartless predators couldn’t remember exactly where they put the victims,” a Texas EquuSearch release read.

The Texas-based search and recovery organization announced it will soon begin working with investigators from the Pasadena Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to search for any additional victims.

“We have been researching the murders very intensely over the last few months, and we believe there is a good probability that we can find, and recover some of the still-missing boys,” the organization said in a release.

The organization held a press conference Sunday in front of the storage building where several of Corll’s victims were found buried in 1973.

More:

Former henchman of one of Houston’s most notorious serial killers dies of COVID-19

3 prolific Houston serial killers whose crimes shocked the city

8 notorious Houston-area locations plagued by suicides, murders and death


About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team as a community associate producer in 2019. During her time in H-Town, she's covered everything from fancy Houston homes to tropical storms. Previously, she worked at Austin Monthly Magazine and KAGS TV, where she earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for her work as a digital producer.