101.5 KNUE logo
Get our free mobile app

It might be grim, but most folks can rattle off at least of few serial killer names if asked to, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffery Dahmer, and Richard Rameriz are pretty much household names.

Ask a true crime junkie and they could take the list further, into Aileen Wuornos, Edmund Kemper, or even H.H. Holmes for the historically minded. What is strange to me is that one of the horrific serial killers to have ever lived is relatively unknown: Dean "Candy Man" Corll, a Texas man responsible not only for at least the torture deaths of 28 boys and young men but also the corruption of the minds and souls of two young men, his groomed accomplices, David Owen Brooks and Elmer Wayne Henley. More on them later.Corll is referred to as the Candy Man because his family owned a candy company, and of course, Corll handed out free candy to neighborhood boys. Gross.

I say there were "at least" 28 because a new search has been launched using new technology to find the hypothetical remains of other potential victims of Corll and crew. Texas EquuSearch will use equipment from Texas-based Earth Management Corporation to search for underground anomalies that could indicate the presence of buried human remains. The technology is primarily implemented for other reasons but could provide answers for families who had young male relatives disappear in the time that Corll was active, that is, the early 1970s. From EMC's website:

 if you’re looking for an abandoned pipeline, an archeological finding, or the migratory extent of a contaminant plume then you’ve come to the right place! We can also help you ascertain the ground strength for building or digging. And generally, we can survey and map as much of a property parcel as you require with extreme accuracy and precision from end to end and top to bottom. Yes, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what’s down there!

I'm always impressed when technology is developed for a particular implementation but ends up aiding in other areas, and this happens to be a particularly interesting example.

This probe back into this case isn't based just on a whim, there are good reasons to suspect there are more victims to be found. First, 42 boys had gone missing from that area at that time, and while it's entirely possible or even probable that some of them went missing for other reasons, it's also quite likely at least some of them were additional victims. Corll never confessed to his crimes or gave a number or indicated locations, as his accomplice/victim Elmer Wayne Henley shot Corll to death before calling his mother to confess.

Corll had attempted to turn on Henley for bringing a girl over to their house, but Henley was able to talk his way out of being a victim and killed Corll instead.  Henley provided much valuable information upon his arrest, including information that was not properly followed up on by the police. Additionally, some "spare" bones were found of as of yet unidentified victims. There is a suspiciously long "gap" between two of the victims and honestly, the list goes on and on as to why it's a good idea to look for more victims.  There's even some indication that Corll was involved with a human trafficking ring.

Corll's other accomplice David Owen Brooks died last year due to COVID-19. He had been groomed by Corll since he was 12 years old. Henley has been eligible for parole since 1980 but has been continually denied it, but has another chance in 2025.

Here is some fascinating archival footage from Henley's arrest and confessions, but be forewarned, it does show retrieval of remains in body bags and is also just terribly sad, with footage of Henley's family dealing with the horror of it all.


Executed Death Row Inmates from the Texas Panhandle

The following individuals were convicted of Capital Murder for crimes committed in the Texas Panhandle (Amarillo and its surrounding areas) and sentenced to death by lethal injection. Read a brief summary on the area's executed Death Row inmates.

All information and photos have been taken from TDCJ and court records.

12 Unsolved Mysteries Plaguing Texas Families


More From 101.5 KNUE