The I-45 Victims
Since 1971 numerous known cases of kidnapping, sexual assault and murder have happen along Interstate 45 in Texas. Some of the victims have disappeared never to be see again, some are skeletons by the time they are discovered, very few are found somewhat intact. Most often the victims have been dumped in fields, parks and bodies of water. Media reports are scarce, most likely because authorities have been rather covert concerning details. This decades long murder spree of serial killers along I-45 is as perplexing as it is frightening.
Brenda Jones - Age 14, brunette. Disappeared while walking to Galveston hospital, close to I-45 to visit an aunt on July 1, 1971. Her body was found the next day floating in nearby Galveston Bay, close to the Seawolf Parkway and near I-45. She had a slip crammed in her mouth and had died of a head wound.
Gloria Gonzales - Age19, brunette. She disappeared on October 28, 1971 near her home in Houston. Her body was found near Addick's Reservoir in west Houston, within 35 yards from where the body of Colette Wilson had been discovered months earlier. She died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Alison Craven - Age 12, Caucasian. Her mother returned home from after running errands for 1 hour on Novermber 9th 1971. Her daughter was missing from their apartment near I-45. Police later found partial remains in a nearby field, two hands along with bones from an arm and some teeth. On Feb 25, 1972 the rest of her skeleton was found in a Pearland field, also near I-45 and 5 to10 miles from where she was last seen.
Debbie Ackerman - Age 15, Caucasian, brunette. Ball High School students Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson both from Galveston, they went to shop for gifts at a Galveston mall. Both disappeared on November 11, 1971 and they were found dead two days later. 10 miles north of where they disappeared, close to I-45 and Highway 3. They were in Turner's Bayou in Texas City where fishermen saw them floating, both girls were shot twice before being dumped in the water. Their hands and feet bound and both were only partially clothed.
Maria Johnson - Age 15, Caucasian, brunette. Ball High School students Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson both from Galveston, they went to shop for gifts at a Galveston mall. Both disappeared on November 11, 1971 and they were found dead two days later. 10 miles north of where they disappeared, close to I-45 and Highway 3. Their bodies were in Turner's Bayou in Texas City where fishermen saw them floating, both girls were shot twice before being dumped in the water. Their hands and feet bound and both were only partially clothed.
Kimberly Pitchford - Age 16, Caucasian. Last seen at a driving school in Pasadena near I-45 on January 3, 1973. She was supposed to call home for ride but the call never came. Her strangled cadaver was found two days later in a ditch near Angleton near the 288 highway, about 30 miles south of where she was last seen. Her uncle Ray Pitchford, said a possible serial killer was known to have attended the school about the same time. However, nothing has ever come of his statement and the authorities still deem the case unsolved.
Georgia Geer - Age 14, Caucasian, brunette. Brooks Bracewell and Georgia Geer had skipped school on September 6, 1974. Both disappeared from a convenience store in Dickinson, close to I-45. Both had been beaten to death and found were found in an Alvin Swamp.
Brooks Bracewell - Age 12, Caucasian, brunette. Brooks Bracewell and Georgia Geer had skipped school on September 6, 1974. Both disappeared from a convenience store in Dickinson, close to I-45. Both had been beaten to death and found were found in an Alvin Swamp.
Karen Pretty - Age 28, Caucasian, dark hair. Robert Pretty came home in north Houston from his job on May 10, 1978. He found breakfast half eaten on the table and heard water dripping in the front bathroom. He found the bodies of his sons, Scott 7 and Mark 5 in the bathtub, he pulled them from the water. His wife was in the master bathroom, she had been strangled with a phone cord. Her hands and feet were bound with phone cord and she was submerged under water in the bathtub. She was still wearing her floral bathrobe and had not been sexually assaulted. The children were still in their pajamas and they were not sexually molested either.Scott was strangled with the bare hands of the assailant and drowned face first into the tub of water. Mark was strangled and drowned in the same fashion as his brother but he had also been beaten. The house had not been robbed and only one drawer was opened according to the police. Their car a 1978 Mercury Marquis was found in an unassigned parking spot at an apartment at 198 Goodson Drive. The case is remains unsolved and the perp(s) motive(s) unknown.
Unknown Doe - Age about 14 to17, Caucasian, brunette. Dumped on I-45 about five miles north of Huntsville on November 1, 1980. She was nude, had been strangled with pantyhose and had human bites on her body. Described as 5'4" tall, 110 pounds. A truckdriver found her body.
Heidi Villerial Fye - Age 23, Caucasian, brunette. First victim found in the "Killing Fields" case.
Sandra Ramber - Age 14, Caucasian, brunette, brown eyes. Disappeared on October 26, 1983 form her house in Santa Fe, Texas. A small town close to League City and Friendswood. The case has been determined to be foul play and she is still a missing person. Her father reported her missing after he found the doors unlocked. Biscuits were cooking in the kitchen, her new coat and her purse were where she left them. She had just completed modeling school and wanted to becoming a model.
Jane Doe - Age ?, Caucasian, brunette. Second victim found in the "Killing Fields" case.
Laura Lynn Miller - Age 16, Caucasian, brunette. Third victim found in the "Killing Fields" case.
Headless Woman - Age ?. April, 1986 police recover a headless body from a garbage bag in a state park in Galveston, the body remains unidentified.
Shelley Kathleen Sikes - Age 19, Caucasian, brunette, brown eyes. The University of Texas student who was home for the summer, was last seen just before midnight May 24, 1986. She left her summer job at Gaido's restaurant for her Texas City home but never made it. Her car was found on I-45's northbound feeder road, just north of the Causeway. In the deep mud just north of the Santa Fe overpass, the car was blood spattered and the driver's window smashed. Her body was never recovered, but Bayview resident John Robert King and El Lago resident Gerald Peter Zwarst later were convicted of aggravated kidnapping, the most severe charge prosecutors could pursue without a body, in the case.
Laurie Lee Tremblay - Age15. One of Anthony Allen Shore's strangulation victims, killed September 26, 1986. She was last seen alive walking from her family's apartment to the bus stop, her body was later found behind a restaurant. Shore once reportedly lived in League City, the Galveston city where the infamous "Killing Fields" are located. Where 4 other victims have were discovered between 1983 and 1991.
Michelle Doherty Thomas - Age 17, Caucasian, brunette. Still missing, she was last seen leaving her Alta Loma home to meet friends on October 5, 1985.
Erica Ann Garcia - Age 14, Hispanic, brunette. June 7, 1987 she disappeared from teen club in Houston. Found behind nearby vacant building, she had been strangled to death
Suzanne Rene Richerson - Age 22, Caucasian, brunette. Worked as a night clerk at Casa Del Mar Condominiums in Galveston, Texas where she was last seen on October 7, 1988 at approximately 6:00 a.m. Another employee was sleeping in the room above Richerson's office and awoke to a scream, then a car door slam from the parking lot and another scream before the car drove away. The last people to see her were the security guards who got off duty at 6 a.m. She left behind her purse, school books and car. One of her shoes was found in the parking lot but she is still missing. On July 31, 2002, suspect Gabriel Soto age 39 died from an apparent from an overdose of drugs. Soto was never charged in this case but investigators said they believed he played a role in Richerson's disappearance.
Another Jane Doe - Age between 14-19, brunette. Discovered in a wooded area on the east side of Houston on September 19, 1989. Described as between 5'2" and 5'5" and between 110 and 130 lbs. Cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head and estimated time of death 1 to 3 months.
Maria Del Carmen Estrada - Age 21, Hispanic, brunette.One of Anthony Allen Shore's strangulation victims, killed in April 1992. Estrada was last seen when she left her home to walk to work. Her body was found hours later in the drive through lane of a Dairy Queen restaurant. Shore once reportedly lived in League City, the Galveston city where the infamous "Killing Fields" are located. Where 4 other victims have were discovered between 1983 and 1991.
Trellis Sykes - Age 16 Abducted on way to school in Houston on May 13, 1994. Found later that same day in a field murdered.
Diana Rebollar - Age 9, brunette. One of Anthony Allen Shore's strangulation victims, killed August 7, 1994. Her mother had sent her to a near by convenience store to buy sugar. Diana's body was found behind a vacant building at 1440 North Loop West. She had been raped, beaten and strangled. Shore once reportedly lived in League City, the Galveston city where the infamous "Killing Fields" are located. Where 4 other victims have were discovered between 1983 and 1991.
Dana Sanchez - Age 16, Hispanic, brunette. One of Anthony Allen Shore's strangulation victims, killed in July 6, 1995. She was last seen talking to her boyfriend on a pay phone at West Cavalcade Street. She told him she planned to hitchhike to his home but never arrived. Her body was found in North View Park on July 14. She had been raped, beaten and strangled. Shore once reportedly lived in League City, the Galveston city where the infamous "Killing Fields" are located. Where 4 other victims have were discovered between 1983 and 1991.
Lynette Bibbs - Age 14 Disappeared with friend Tamara Fisher from teen club in Houston on February 1, 1996. Left dumped on side of rural road near Cleveland, Texas, two days later. Partially clothed and shot twice in back of head and once in the thigh.
Tamara Fisher - Age 15 Last seen with friend Lynette Bibbs at Houston teen club on February 1, 1996. Left dumped on side of rural raod near Cleveland, Texas. Fully clothed and murdered by gunshot wound to the head.
Krystal Jean Baker - Age 13, Caucasian, blonde, dark eyes. Disappeared on March 5, 1996 from Convenience Store in Texas City where she used the phone. In hopes for a ride to a friends house in Bayou Vista, which is a short distance from there. Her body was found a few hours later under the I-10 Bridge over the Trinity River in Chambers County. She had been strangled, beaten, sexually assaulted and killed by ligature strangulation. Her face was badly beaten. Closest highway from where she was last seen is I-45, Hwy 3 and Hwy 146 which goes along Bay toward where body was found miles away. Marilyn Monroe, Norma Jean Baker was Krystal's great aunt.
Laura Kate Smither - Age 12, Caucasian, brunette. The aspiring ballerina disappeared April 3, 1997 while jogging near her home in Friendswood, Texas near I-45. Seventeen days later her body was found at the edge of a retention pond in Pasadena near I-45. She was nude except for one sock and a ring, her head was decapitated. A dark colored pickup was observed in same area as where last seen and composite sketch of person in truck. When Smither's body was found in the Pasadena retention pond, investigators took notice of some obvious similarities between her abduction and death and that of 9 year old Amber Hagerman in Arlington, Texas 3 months earlier. Both girls' bodies were dumped in waterways, nude except for their socks. It could not be conclusively determined if the two cases are related or not. However, sex offender William Lewis Reece is the prime suspect in Laura Smither and Jessica Cain deaths but did he do it? Information, including allegations of evidence tampering, surfaced. The autopsy report indicated that African American hairs found on the girl's body were contaminants and that did not come from the crime scene. Note the Amber Hagerman death, then also note the abduction of Sandra Sapaugh and the disappearance of Jessica Cain.
Sandra Sapaugh (Abducted) - Dark complexion, brunette. She was fixing a flat on NASA Road 1 in Webster, across I-45 from Friendswood on May 16, 1997. When she says William Lewis Reece was the man who kidnapped her by pulling a knife on her and forced her into his truck. He ordered her to undress but she opened the passenger door and jumped out of the fast moving truck. Reece was charged with aggravated kidnapping of Sapaugh. Reece also is a suspect in the murder of Laura Smither and the disappearance of Jessica Cain.
Jessica Lee Cain - Age 17, Caucasian, brunette. Still missing after leaving friends at a Bennigan's restaurant in Webster about 2 a.m. on August 17, 1997. Two hours later her truck was found along I-45 in La Marque, there was no signs of struggle and her truck was operational. Witnesses saw her walking from her parked truck towards a red Isuzu Amigo that was stopped behind her truck.
Tina Flood - Age 23, Caucasian, blonde. November 29, 1998 a police officer pulled over Jonathan David Drew and found Flood beaten and barely alive in his front passenger seat. A waitress, she had befriended Drew at a night club. She died days later and he was convicted for her death. Drew is also suspected of several sexual assaults and it is speculated he could be responsible for the slaying of Jessica Lee Cain. A search of his former home in League City, where his parents still lived produced a vial containing several human teeth. League City is the Galveston city where the infamous "Killing Fields" are located. Where 4 other victims have were discovered between 1983 and 1991. Though his age would not match the time line of the "Killing Fields" murders but he did rape other women in the area.
Wanda May Pitts - Age 18, Caucasian, blonde. January 17, 1999 was at work the lobby desk at the Lodge Motel in Shenandoah. A job she had for about two months and she did not have a car. William Ray Mathews a drifter abducted her, took her to one of the motel rooms where he sexually assaulted her before strangling her to death. He couldn't recall where he had put her body but about a year later her remains where found off an abandon gated drive way.
Tracy Vickery (Abducted) - Caucasian, brunette. Weeks after Wanda May Pitts had vanished, Mathews attempted to abduct Vickery from the office where she sold mobile homes. The Country Time Mobile Homes just happened to located on the other side of I-45 from the Lodge Motel. He came in with a briefcase, sat down and wrote her a note. She was to do what he said because he had a gun and would kill her if she did not. He forced Vickery into his truck, then he drove off down I-45 with her but she leap from his moving truck. He tried to pull her back in by her hair but he couldn't, she got away and ran to the Gulf Cost Trades Center to save herself.
Amber Hagerman - Age 9, Caucasian, brunette, brown eyes. The Amber Alert is named after Amber Hagerman, this national program is dedicated to all children nationwide who’ve been abducted. On January 1996, she was riding her bicycle in a parking lot near her home. A neighbor heard her scream, then saw a man pull her off her bike, throw her into the front seat of his dark pickup truck and drive away at a high speed. January 17, 1996 Amber’s body was found in a drainage ditch located by apartments which are located on Green Oaks Blvd a short distance west of Highway 360 in Arlington, Texas. She had been sexually assaulted and her throat had been cut multiple times with a knife. Like in the case of Laura Smither, both girls were nude except for socks. If the two cases are related cannot be conclusively determined. Though the prime suspect in Smither's death is William Lewis Reece, a known sex offender.
Tot Tran Harriman - Age 57, Asian, black streaked with gray, brown eyes. Height: 4ft., 11in.Weight: 130. Disappeared July 12, 2001 from: League City, Texas. Left League City to drive to Corpus Christy, TX. but has not been seen since. She departed at approximately 5:00 AM on July 12, 2001 from her son's residence said goodbye to her son and drove away in her 1995 rose quartz Lincoln Continental, with Florida rear license plate. A Navy Seal emblem where the front plate is normally affixed. Circumstances of this case indicate that foul play is possible.
Sara Trusty - Age 23, Caucasian, blonde. Last seen in Algoa near her church riding her bicycle around 11 PM on July 12, 2002. The bike was found in foyer of church the next day but she was gone. Her body was discovered on July 28, 2002 in a dike in Texas City.
Laura Ayala - Age 13, Hispanic, brunette. Missing since March 10, 2002 when she went to a near by convenience store to pick up a news paper for a school project. Walter Alexander Sorto, Edgardo Rafael Cubas and Eduardo Navarro have not been chaged with her death. However, her DNA was discovered in a SUV owned by Cubas' father.
Teen Girl (Terrorized) - July 29, 2004 a northwest Houston teen girl stranded on a southwest Houston freeway was stranded with a flat tire on the West Loop near Interstate 10. A man she believed was a tow-truck driver offered to help, he changed her tire and then tried to sexually assault her. The girl said she managed to escape by stabbing the man in the torso and shoulder with a pocketknife. The attacker has a tall, bald, clean-shaven man with a tattoo of a spider web on his left shoulder. He was driving a faded black, older model Chevrolet pickup with "Super Tow" painted in white letters on the side.
Natasha Nicole Solidum - Age 30, Caucasian, brunette, 5-foot-5, weighing about 135 pounds. On February 23, 2006 a brother and sister were walking their dog on the beach near the Flagship Hotel in the 2400 block of Seawall Boulevard shortly after 11 a.m. A woman began shouting at them about something floating in the surf and at first one of them thought it was a mannequin. The woman’s body was clad in black sweatpants, light-blue Asics running shoes with white ankle socks, a red, hooded sweatshirt and she still had her sunglasses on. She carried no identification but her body bore a distinct mark, a tattoo of a ring of flowers around her navel. Her body had probably only been in the water for about an hour because it was still warm and rigor mortis had not set in. An autopsy showed that a single gunshot wound to the chest. Investigators combed the area near 24th Street and Seawall with special metal detectors to try to find evidence. Solidum, 30, was an elementary school teacher in the Alief Independent School District. The Flagship Hotel jets out over the surf, close to where I-45 ends on Galveston Island.