Fifty years after Houston serial killer Dean Corll was shot to death by one of his teenage accomplices, one of his known victims remains unidentified.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children hopes newly released reconstruction images of the boy and items found with him will help to change that.
The national nonprofit released a new facial sketch this week for the victim known only as "John Doe 1973," whose body was discovered along with several others at a Houston boat storage shed on Aug. 9, 1973. He was estimated to be between 15 and 18 years old at the time he died, likely more than a year beforehand, according to his case page on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) website.
"We remain hopeful that this young man's family and friends are still looking for him," Carol Schweitzer, the supervisor of the NCMEC's forensic services unit, said in a news release. "He may have siblings, cousins, classmates, neighbors or friends that have always wondered what happened to him."
Corll, dubbed the "Candy Man" because his family owned a candy store in Houston's Heights neighborhood and he used candy to befriend children, abducted, tortured, raped and murdered at least 28 boys and young men, many from the Heights area, between 1970-73. The killings came to light after Corll was shot and killed in his Pasadena home on Aug. 8, 1973, by Elmer Wayne Henley, one of his two teenage accomplices along with David Brooks.
Brooks and Henley subsequently led police to the victims' bodies, which had been buried in either the aforementioned boat shed in Southwest Houston, a wooded area near Lake Sam Rayburn or beaches on the Gulf Coast. Brooks and Henley were later convicted of murder, with Henley remaining in prison and Brooks having died in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice hospital in 2020 at age 65.
Among all the victims that were found, the aforementioned John Doe is the only one that has yet to be identified. He was white with possible Hispanic admixture, according to the NCMEC, which says he also had brown hair that was 7 inches in length and stood between 5-foot-2 and 5-7.
A postmortem examination revealed the boy had a mild case of spina bifida, which could have caused lower back pain or affected the way he walked, although it's possible the condition did not produce any noticeable symptoms, according to the NCMEC.
Along with putting together the new facial reconstruction image of the victim, the NCMEC said it worked with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences to create new digital reconstructions of the items that were found with him. They include brown leather cowboy boots with the word "NEOLITE" on the heel, a knotted leather ankle bracelet, dark blue corduroy pants with a 32-inch waist and 30-inch inseam, multi-colored swimming trunks and a long-sleeved, khaki-colored shirt.
The belted "Catalina" swimming trunks had vertical stripes that were dark blue, red, turquoise and gold in color, along with a silver buckle that featured golden wings with the letter "C" in the middle. The 1970s-style shirt tied in the front and had a large red, white and blue peace symbol on the back, with the letters "USA" accompanying the peace symbol.
Written underneath the peace symbol, in small lettering, was "LBHMF."
Anyone with information about the unidentified victim can call the NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST or the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, using case number ML73-3356 for reference, at 713-796-6858.
"This young man's friends and classmates would be in their late 60s to early 70s, and we hope that this new imagery reaches them and helps bring in that one single lead needed to resolve this case," Schweitzer said.