At Least 30 Victims Have Been Found On 'The Texas Killing Fields' Land

Who Were 'The Texas Killing Field' Victims?: Netflix dropped 'Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields,' which examins several unsolved murders in Texas. All about the victims, and where they were found.
Who Were 'The Texas Killing Field' Victims?: Netflix dropped 'Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields,' which examins several unsolved murders in Texas. All about the victims, and where they were found.Courtesy

Netflix has dropped yet another installation of their successful Crime Scene docuseries, and this time, viewers dive into some mysterious murders that have, to this day, never been solved. Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields is a three-episode limited series that tells the story of the victims whose bodies were dumped in an oil field that makes up a 50-mile stretch of highway-adjacent land that goes from Houston, Texas, to neighboring Galveston. The mass number of bodies that were found along the highway resulted in its gruesome nickname: The Killing Fields.

Although over 30 bodies of mostly women and girls were found in the fields between 1971 and 1999, only a portion of them were found in the Calder Road oil fields. Those victims, some of whom were identified as recently as 2019, include Heidi Villareal Fye, Laura Miller, Audrey Lee Cook, and Donna Prudhomme.

Fye and Miller were able to be identified thanks to dental records. The next two bodies were called Jane and Janet Doe for over 20 years, until they were finally identified as Cook and Prudhomme in 2019.

Ahead, read up on the Texas Killing Fields victims, including who they were, how they died, and the locations where they were found.

Heidi Villareal-Fye

Heidi Villareal-Fye was a 25-year-old bartender who went missing in League City, just outside of Houston, on Oct. 10, 1983, per The Washington Post and the FBI. She left her parents’ house to get a ride to Houston to see her boyfriend, but she didn’t ever get there.

In April 1984, a dog dug up her bones and carried her skull to its owner, The Washington Post reported.

Her body was found in the rural Calder Road oil field, described as “the marshy stretch off I-45 between Houston and Galveston” by The Independent, part of what was dubbed the “Texas Killing Fields” just a few months later.

Laura Miller

A year after Heidi Fye’s disappearance, Laura Miller, a 16-year-old who had recently moved to League City with her family, also went missing. Miller was “musically gifted,” according to the FBI, and attended Clear Creek High School, per PEOPLE. She had a rough time in school, as she began to have seizures that forced her to miss school, quit her choir, and have trouble in her social life.

On September 10, 1984, she asked if she could call her boyfriend from a payphone, since her family’s phone wasn’t set up yet, according to the FBI. Her mother agreed and drove her to a payphone, with Laura walking half a mile to get back home. She never made it back to her house, and police deemed her just a runaway at first. But months passed without the family hearing from her, and on Feb. 2, 1986 (seventeen whole months after she first disappeared), her body was discovered by two children playing in the woods near a dirt trail just south of League City, right by the very same field as where Fye was found, per ABC 13 and the FBI.

Audrey Lee Cook

While searching for Miller, police found a third unidentified body, naming her a Jane Doe, until she was identified in January 2019. Cook was a 30-year-old mechanic living in Houston, Channelview, and Heights in Texas. Her family described her as “free-spirited,” according to ABC 13. The last time she had been seen was in December 1985, which is also when her family stopped hearing from her.

On Feb. 2, 1986, the same day Miller was found, detectives discovered Audrey Lee’s decomposed body, which showed that she had been shot in the back and had several broken ribs, ABC 13 reported. She was identified after 33 years using technology to reconstruct her face and showing it on the news, per ABC 13. Eventually, the FBI got involved and they were eventually able to determine her identity.

Donna Gonsoulin Prudhomme

In 1991, people passing the fields found a fourth body of a woman who was referred to as a Janet Doe until January 2019, when Audrey Lee Cook was also identified. Donna Gonsoulin Prudhomme lived most of her life in Port Arthur, Texas, and was married with two sons. She left her husband and took her children when he became abusive, the FBI reported.

Donna asked her sister, Dianne, to mail her her birth certificate to her home in Clear Lake near the end of the 1980s, and after that, she never heard from Donna again. Prudhomme’s sister said she was “a beautiful woman and mother” and loved fishing and Cajun food, according to the FBI.

There were other victims found along the land, too.

Over 30 bodies of mostly women and girls were found between 1971 and 1999 along the 50-mile stretch of land along I-95 between Houston and Galveston, an area now known as the Killing Fields, per The New Zealand Herald, The Washington Post, and CBS News. Most victims were between the ages of 12 and 34.

Here are the names of the other victims that have since been identified, according to The New Zealand Herald, The U.S. Sun, and The Independent:

  • Colette Wilson, a 13-year-old found in 1971
  • Gloria Gonzales, a 19-year-old found in 1971
  • Rhonda Johnson, a 14-year-old who disappeared in 1971
  • Sharon Shaw, a 14-year-old who disappeared in 1971
  • Kimberly Rae Pitchford, a 16-year-old who disappeared in 1973
  • Brooks Bracewell, a 12-year-old who disappeared in 1974
  • Georgia Geer, a 14-year-old who disappeared in 1974
  • Suzanne Bowers, a 12-year-old who disappeared in 1977
  • Michelle Garvey, a 14-year-old who disappeared in 1982
  • Laura Smither, a 12-year-old killed in 1997
  • Kelli Ann Cox, a 20-year-old killed in 1997
  • Jessica Cain, a 17-year-old killed in 1997

Are there any suspects?

There are no known witnesses for any of the four Calder Road field murders, the FBI reported in 2019. Authorities assume it was someone who knew the area well (well-enough to know that the fields were a good place to leave bodies) and believe it was just one killer.

One possible suspect included a former NASA engineer who moved to League City in 1983 and who was leasing land next to the oil field, was also a suspect at one time, The Washington Post and The U.S. Sun reported. However, he was never convicted or charged and police couldn’t find evidence any evidence suggesting he could be the killer, per Texas Monthly.

More recently, Clyde Hedrick, a man convicted of killing a woman named Ellen Beason, 30, in the area in 1984, is still a suspect, despite maintaining his innocence, per Bustle. Hedrick served eight years of his 20-year sentence for Beason’s death, allegedly confessing to Miller and Fye's murders while in prison, but there's not enough evidence right now to bring charges against him.

Clearly, there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the events that occurred in the Texas Killing Fields, which is streaming now on Netflix.