Mass Murder Victim Buried

He has no name but he’s finally been laid to rest. One of the last two unidentified victims of a 1970s serial killer has been buried at the Harris County Cemetery. They were two of the 28-young men whose bodies were unearthed around Houston more than 30 years ago. Pat Hernandez has the story.

unidentified victimThe remains of the victim, a young white male who was between the ages of 15 and 20, were in a light blue casket normally used to bury an infant.  Dan Davis with Carnes Funeral Home officiated the service at what is considered a pauper’s cemetery.

“I wanna thank each one of you all for being here. As we think about the losses that families have experienced like this every week, its hard to take comfort, and there’s really no other place we can go. We may not know this person’s name, but our Creator does. And our Creator ordained the very days and the time that you all would get to have, and it’s not a finite time.”

The victim was linked to the mass murders committed by Heights serial killer Dean Corll and his teenage accomplices Elmer Wayne Henley & David Brooks. They were lured by Henley and Brooks and were tortured, strangled and buried in a boat shed. The bodies were discovered after Henley confessed to killing Corll in 1973. Dr. Sharon Derrick is a forensic anthropologist with the Harris County medical examiner’s office. She says more than 30-years later, DNA testing and other efforts to locate the victim’s family have been futile.

“This has been quite a challenge because we have remains that were recovered in 1973 and, time does take its toll. But we also were able to give a biological profile that puts us in a range of asking people if they had someone missing who fit into this demographic profile.”

She says DNA testing was successful in identifying victim Joseph Allen Lyles. He was buried in an unmarked grave last year, but his family attended this ceremony as a show of support. Barbara Vaughan calls her brother’s identification closure for the family.

“You can’t help, imagining what the boys went through. It was just horrendous when it was all coming out. All my growing up years, my teenage years, like I said it was a topic of conversation, you know? So, this is like putting an end to the talk. We know what happened. We try not to think about that too much, but we know that his body has been found and, he’s located now.”

Lyle’s name will now be put on his grave.

PH, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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