True Crime Thursday – Calder Road Killings

Photo courtesy of FBI

In the mid-1980s to 1993, a remote area between Houston and Galveston became a dumping ground for the bodies of four murdered women. The desolate fields off Calder Road near League City, TX became known as “The Killing Fields.”

Police detectives and the FBI believe one person is responsible, likely someone who lived in the area and was familiar with the location. But they have no suspects and no discernible link between the four victims.

Dental records identified two women soon after they were found but two more remained “Jane Doe” and “Janet Doe” for decades until they were at last IDed a few months ago.

Here is a link to the FBI report, which includes a five-minute video. Particularly poignant is the interview with Tim Miller, the grieving father of 16-year-old Laura Miller.

Starting at the two-minute marker, he describes how he would go to the fields off Calder Road to visit her memorial. He would place his hand on her cross and say, “Laura, please don’t hate your daddy but I can’t come out here anymore. I have to say goodbye and I have to put my life back together. And I’d literally be walking away and I’d hear this little voice say, ‘Dad, don’t quit, please, don’t quit.’”

He didn’t.

Instead, Tim Miller focused on finding answers for families of missing persons. He runs Texas EquuSearch, a nonprofit organization that has located 250 missing people.

We can only hope someday he finds justice for his own child.


 TKZers: Are there unsolved cases that haunt you?

This entry was posted in #truecrimethursday and tagged , , by Debbie Burke. Bookmark the permalink.

About Debbie Burke

Debbie writes Tawny Lindholm Thrillers with Passion. The first book in the series, Instrument of the Devil, won the Kindle Scout contest and the Zebulon Award. Additional books in the series are Stalking Midas, Eyes in the Sky, Dead Man's Bluff, Crowded Hearts, and Flight to Forever. Debbie's articles have won journalism awards in international publications. She is a founding member of Authors of the Flathead and helps to plan the annual Flathead River Writers Conference in Kalispell, Montana. Her greatest joy is mentoring young writers.

15 thoughts on “True Crime Thursday – Calder Road Killings

  1. It’s not an unsolved one, but there is a case from my home town that still haunts me. It happened back in the ’80’s. A woman cut up her elderly mother and put her in a barrel on her property. She did it in order to steal her mother’s social security checks. She was caught and tried, found guilty, and sentenced to two measly years in prison. I still find it unbelievable.

    My sense of justice is outraged. But I know that justice will be meted out to her someday.

    • Deb, that’s hideous. Greed has no limits. Two years is a travesty.

      One reason I write crime novels is the ability to mete out justice on the page b/c it rarely happens in real life.

      • I know the traditional explanation for the popularity of mysteries (besides their problem-solving appeal) is in terms of people’s desire to see justice done. Yet I’m reading many stories in which no justice is done. In fact many stories seem to revel in the crime itself.

        One subset of these is revenge stories. In many, there’s no exploration at all of whether the killing is justified, either in terms of the nature of the offense or in terms of the possibility of more legal and/or moral alternatives.

        I think fictional exploration of the evil mind, even if the evil person never suffers justice, can be legitimate. But many of the stories I’m thinking about–revenge and others–don’t make a pretense of doing this. They just seem to revel in the evil. Perhaps as a kind of wish-fulfillment/fantasy?

        • Eric, whoever these people are who seem to revel in evil, I don’t want to meet them…unless I can kill them in a book!

  2. Many people tend to shove the work of David Paulides, a retired law enforcement officer and retired business executive, into the corner and spray it with disinfectant and aerosol deodorizers because of his previous work searching for bigfoot and his appearances on the nightly nationwide talk show, CoasttoCoastAM–a night sugar-blast of paranormal, freakish, or frightening experiences, guesses, or rumors.

    But the fact is, Mr. Paulides has compiled documentation on hundreds of men, women, and, most tragically, children who have gone missing in his Missing 411 books. (The 411 figure comes from the number of missing-persons cases in each volume.)

    His books, Missing 411- Western United States, Missing 411- Eastern United States, Missing 411- North America and Beyond,
    Missing 411- The Devil’s in the Detail, and Missing 411- A Sobering Coincidence (sold only on his website and not on Amazon or other third-party marketing or sales sites), are compilations of accounts of many who have simply turned up missing. To limit the suggestions that those missing are simple cases–they were intoxicated, they merely fell into a body of still or moving water (though water is a significant in many of the stories), or otherwise, Paulides and his associates, former law enforcement officers, use criteria that would exclude such incidental cases.

    And the cases are frightening. Children have walked as short as a 100 or so feet away from their families to look at something and have disappeared, though there might be a number of people in the area who remember seeing the child just moments before he or she went missing. Skiers have eventually been found dead after searchers found significant evidence that they may have been running from someone or something. People who have been on outings with others, a family or a group, and were either the first or the last person in the group, have suddenly disappeared: one person was said to have been in the lead of hikers rounding a curved trail, looked to her right, and has never been found.

    Paulides and his associates have never released their own suppositions or theories about what might have happened to these missing persons. Obviously, because of his previous research into bigfoots (research I believe in credible and available at, he has stayed away from stating conclusions that people are being snatched by cryptid creatures. He also resists the people who insist to them that UFOs, faeries, demons, or other such entities are taking people away.

    One of the horrible factors in the cases of people–there have been many–who have disappeared in our American National Parks and Forests, is the fact that the National Park Service does not keep records or, to hear the Service tell it, even tallies, of missing persons. When Mr. Paulides asked for information about missing people in one national park, the service responded that it would cost him over $30,000 for that data. To get lists from all national parks and forests would cost over a million dollars. Apparently, pressures from members of Congress have been ignore and/or resisted by the park and forest services. One frightening speculation by members of the public is that the services do not wish to disclose the number or names of missing persons simply because it would reduce greatly the number of visitors to the parks and forests.

    More information on the work of Mr. Paulides and his organization, the CanAm Missing Project, is available at[.] As in missing Canadians and Americans–Mr. Paulides is an American. (One of the scariest phenomenon in Canada and the U.S. are the number of American Indian women and Canadian First Nations women who have gone missing. “CBC News has looked into 34 cases across Canada which involve the death or disappearance of Indigenous women, but which authorities say were not due to foul play. In every case, families of the women say they do not accept the findings of police. They suggest murder may be involved.”)

    Paulides has demonstrated there are geographic areas where clusters of people have disappeared in many states. In our state, there are three such clusters. I have asked my sons and sons-in-law not to take our children and great-grandchildren into those areas.

    That’s how seriously I believe the phenomenon exists. One actuarial researcher has said that the number of disappearances are not unusual for the sizes of populations he has studied.

    I doubt that researcher has gone through the devastation and agony of a child, friend, or other loved one who has not returned home. Ever.

    (There are a number of YouTube videos on the subject of David Paulides and his Canam Missing 411 project.)

    • Thanks, Jim, for your detailed comment. The disappearances in national parks as well as the missing Native women are of great concern to many people here in Montana. Paulides has compiled an impressive amount of research.

  3. It is incomprehensible that people just disappear, but it obviously happens. My father was a logger. During the summer the families would camp near the logging sites and the wives and kids would bring lunches to them. One of the wives brought her husband’s lunch and headed back to camp. She disappeared between the work site and the camp. An extensive search turned up nothing, not track or a trace of what happened to her and is still an open case.

    My husband has been on many search parties and he said out in the woods it isn’t uncommon for people to fall into thick brush or ravines and never be found, or found much later by hunters or hikers. But, in open country level country, that doesn’t explain the other disappearances.

    In our area, a man went missing while driving between two cities. The search was extensive, but neither he nor his car were found. A few years later, the water level in one of the reservoirs dropped significantly and a car was found with a body in it. It was him. However, in order to get to the water, he had to leave the highway and travel several miles down a secondary road. It is not sharply curved or steep, so how he ended up in the water is still a mystery.

    In my hometown in Oregon, a family went out to cut a Christmas tree. The weather turned foul with heavy snow fall. A five-year-old boy wandered off a few yards and disappeared. No trace. No foot prints, trail, nothing. That was over fifteen years ago, and he still hasn’t been found. It is hard to imagine.

    Gives me goosebumps.

    • Sad stories, Cecilia.

      Several friends who handle search dogs lament that they are not called in right away when the trail is fresh. I wonder how many disappearances could be solved with dogs.

  4. There are three and a half that have stayed with me for a while.
    The Kerry sisters. I knew them, but not well. I deliver pizzas. They were regulars.

    More pizza land stories. Ben Ownby, 13 went missing. One clue, a white pick up truck. Someone notices that the manager of the pizza parlor by the police station drives a white pick up truck. He was well known to the detectives looking for him. When you can make a detective quit, you are a sick ____

    One night there was a story on the news. A girl had been stabbed to death either by her father or in a fight with her father. Then more came out. The FBI was gathering evidence against a terrorist funding operation. The old man who ran a quick shop also funded terrorists. In that investigation the FBI tapped his apartment. And recorded him murdering his daughter.

    St. Louis had a serial rapist known as the south side rapist. It took years to find a suspect. Then they had one. They convinced him to give a DNA sample to clear him of a burglary. It confirmed he was the South Side Rapist. His picture was on TV. He looked a whole lot like me.

    • Alan, the South Side Rapist story sounds like one you should write. Were you frequently mistaken for him?

      Be careful out there in pizza land.

      • I was not. One of my pizza buddies was a ‘powerfully built black man, 25-30, with a shaved head. There was a serial rapist working that area. My buddy would get pulled over twice a day or more.

        When the rapist was caught he wasn’t 25 over 40. None of the victims said anything about the solver hair on the sides.

    • Alan, we had a killer here in Phoenix that had struck a number of times. Finally, a breakthrough, complete with an police artist’s sketch.

      My oldest Son, who had a pedicab business at the time and was out by himself coming home all odd hours of the night and early morning, saw the picture and thought the picture looked like him. I had to admit, when he showed it to me, I, too, noticed the resemblance.

      Much relief when police caught the real killer. When we saw his picture, we couldn’t understand how anyone how the witness could have even remotely thought the picture looked like the real guy. It was as different from the reality as a nickle is different from a skunk.

      • I was not. One of my pizza buddies was a ‘powerfully built black man, 25-30, with a shaved head. There was a serial rapist working that area. My buddy would get pulled over twice a day or more.

        When the rapist was caught he wasn’t 25 over 40. None of the victims said anything about the solver hair on the sides.

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