Houston’s Painful Past Still Haunts

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As senior editor for Texas Monthly, Dallas’ Skip Hollandsworth has written some of the most brutal, poignant, and fascinating stories in TM’s 38-year catalog of Texana. His crime pieces include numerous gruesome murder stories, but none is more chilling than his latest: revisiting Dean Corll’s savage killing spree in Houston’s The Heights neighborhood in the 1970s. At least 29 young boys were lured into a fatal encounter with Corll, making him the most prolific serial killer in Texas history. And sadly, as reaction to Hollandsworth’s story brings new evidence to light, it appears that number may be much higher. Over lunch, Skip, who last year won the National Magazine Award for feature writing, confessed that “this story knocked me flat. Frankly, I am having a hard time with it.” He said he’s received dozens of emails from Houstonians who have all-too vivid nightmares of the Corll killings. “One man said that as a teenager he remembers Corll pulling up to the park where he and some friends were starting a baseball game. Corll opened his car door and beckoned the boy to come inside, ‘but my friends called to me to come play, and I dashed off. If they hadn’t called, I’m sure I would have gotten in that car.”

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