Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mystery Man - Clue Box

Time for our next Mystery Man. We hope you enjoyed the four-part series we featured over the Fourth of July holiday. Our next guest contributor is a big-city homicide detective from the Death Penalty capital of the nation: Houston, Texas. This investigator was one of two detectives selected to form the department's Cold Case Unit. Since his unit's expansion, he has been able to add detectives like WCI's Connie Park.

Twenty-seven years ago this summer, our Mystery Man joined the Houston Police Department. He was promoted to sergeant in the late 1980s, and has spent most of his career since then in the Homicide Division. When he joined HPD in 1981, the Murder Squad was dealing with the surge of violence of the late '70s, when the team of homicide investigators had more business than they could handle. On the two manual typewriters detectives used to take statements, the rollers only stopped moving for as long as it took for the next in line to sit and load a clean sheet of paper.

Investigators were typing statements on computers by the time this Mystery Man arrived. The most notorious statement he took was on videotape: the confession of Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children in 2001. Though it's difficult to imagine, one desperate parent murdering multiple children would not be the only quintuple homicide he investigated.

Ten years earlier, he stood over the bodies of four children and their father, a distraught man who murdered everyone because his wife had sued for divorce and asked the court to grant him sole custody of the children. What the detective remembered most was this: After purchasing a .45 semiautomatic, the father had driven the kids to K-Mart for new clothes and a Polaroid. At home, he took a photo of the children, wrote a note to his wife that the picture would be the last time she saw them, and fired a bullet into each child's head before ending his own life the same way.

Those mass murders are but two of the several hundred cases he's investigated. Somewhere in there, he met a Harris County prosecutor he wanted to share his life with, and together they had a beautiful daughter. Over the years, his cases have taken him all over the nation, though he's not one to boast. "My killers seldom run to the garden spots of the US," he said. "I've awakened in such places as Hackensack, New Jersey; Pascagoula, Mississippi; Bakersfield, California; and Monroe, Lousiana." Tomorrow, he'll share some of his memorable Houston cases. You shouldn't need any other clues to convince you that this Mystery Man is not to be missed. Check him out here tomorrow.

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