Throughout history, there have been few serial killers who have become infamous even though their true identity has remained a mystery. One such location with an as yet unidentified murderer is Texarkana, TX.
The terror began February 22, 1946. Jimmy Hollis and Mary Jeanne were parked on the local lover’s lane just outside of town when they were attacked by a large man wearing a white mask with holes cut out for the eyes and mouth. What they thought was an armed robbery became worse when Jimmy was severely beaten and Jeanne violently assaulted by the man. The attacker remained unidentified and quiet for a month before striking again.
On March 24, 1946, a car was discovered on a secluded road with the bodies of another couple. It is believed that the couple, Richard Griffin and Polly Ann Moore were sharing a romantic moment when the killer came upon them. Both people were shot in the back of the head, and Moore was placed in the back seat of the car, wrapped in a blanket. The coroner was unable to determine whether she was also assaulted as in the attack the month before.
A third attack attributed to the “Phantom Killer” occurred on April 13, 1976 when Betty Jo Booker and Paul Martin’s bodies were discovered. Betty Jo had just finished playing at a local club and was getting a ride home from her friend Paul. His body was found on the side of a road with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. It took several hours for her body to be found two miles away. Betty Jo appeared to have been sexually assaulted before being shot to death.
The final attack came on May 3, 1946. Gunfire shattered the living room window of Virgil and Katie Starks. One of the bullets struck Virgil in the back of the head, but that wasn’t the end. Katie attempted to contact the police, and “The Phantom Killer” shot her twice in the face. She survived by escaping the house and running to a neighbor’s house. Due to the amount of blood flowing into her eyes, Katie was unable to identify the attacker.
Panic filled the town during this entire ordeal. Businesses closed by sunset, a curfew was established, and the townspeople purchased stronger locks and barricaded windows. Rewards were offered and many suspects were questioned, and still, the killer remained unidentified. Even the famed Texas Rangers were called in to investigate with no results.
The legend of the Phantom Killer became so widespread that the events of his murder spree inspired the 1976 film, “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”, and the later sequel/remake with the same title. The details of the murder were followed, but with some creative license taken for sake of entertainment. Even with all of this attention, the killer of all those people still remains unknown.
Until next time Addicts…