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A Serial Killer Confess Murdered Her But It Was A Lie, The Real Killer Was Free For Decades


By Based On a True StoryPublished about a month ago 3 min read

On March 17, 1983, a police officer from Montgomery County, Texas, made a terrible discovery: In a wooded area of Conroe near Interstate 45 he found the lifeless body of a young woman.

At first glance police could observe that she had severe burns, which led them to think that the killer had tried to burn the victim to eliminate evidence.

The autopsy revealed that the woman, whom they were unable to identify at that time, had died from mechanical asphyxia. In addition, her attacker had abused her. In his body they found several DNA samples but at that time the techniques that existed were so basic that they could not identify the culprit.

In 1986, several FBI agents compared the victim’s blood samples with those of Laura Marie Purchase, a young woman who disappeared in Houston in 1983.

Laura was last seen on March 5 of that same year. According to the research, the young woman was the partner of a man nicknamed “Howie”, who played in a musical band called “Malibu”.

One of the reasons why the crime was unpunished for 38 years was the statement of the famous Texan serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, who in 1983 confessed from prison to being guilty of the death of Laura.

Henry Lee Lucas was not only known for his crimes but because he was awarded the authorship of as many others that he did not commit. To get an idea, he confessed to more than a hundred women’s crimes in the states of Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma and West Virginia. In only three of them, their participation could be duly verified.

The male DNA found in Laura’s body did not coincide with that of Henry Lee Lucas, Despite this in 1986 the judicial system charged him with the crime.

Lucas died in prison in 2001 and in 2007 they compared his DNA again with that found in Laura’s body. As you can imagine, the same thing happened as the first time: the samples did not match.

Because of this, the names of Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Elwood Toole, another man who had been found suspicious, were deleted from the case.

In 2019, the name of Thomas Elvin Darnell came into the hands of the Montgomery County police thanks to a genetic genealogy test.

It is an analysis that traces specific locations of a person’s genome for the purpose of finding or verifying ancestral genealogical traces or to estimate the ethnic mixture of a human being.

The genealogy report suggested that the police investigate Darnell. The 75-year-old man was part of a list of possible suspects that had been drawn up by Montgomery’s investigators based on the investigation initiated in 1983 and initiated again. after the post-mortem acquittal of Henry Lee Lucas.

In March 2021, the researchers went to Darnell’s home in Kansas City to take a DNA sample. At the beginning of May, the results showed the coincidence of the samples, so he was immediately arrested and extradited to Montgomery.

On July 26, while he was in prison awaiting trial, Darnell died of natural causes, and at the time of his arrest he was already quite sick.

"Darnell has been in failing health even at the time of his arrest in May," Montgomery County Sheriff's Office representatives said Wednesday in a statement. "Darnell had numerous medical issues and was on hospice care at the time of his death."

Although in the end it was known who ended Laura’s life, the culprit never paid for the terrible act he committed 38 years earlier.

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About the Creator

Based On a True Story

Hi everyone! My name is Marta and every week I write about true crime, always with an educational purpose.

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