Police in Texas recently arrested Felix Vail for the murder of his wife Mary Horton Vail, 22. Her death, originally ruled an accident, was reclassified as a homicide after police reopened the investigation in response to an article by investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell in the Clarion Ledger. Here Mitchell discusses Horton Vail’s life, as well as the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.
Compare the police sketches of notorious serial killers with their actual mugshots.
College student Robbin Brandley was found dead, stabbed 41 times. Though police had many theories about the murderer’s identity, it would take 11 years and the capture of a serial killer to unravel the mystery of her violent death.
A man suspected of killing two wives and a girlfriend has been captured in Canyon Lake, Texas, where he has been living a quiet life at age 73. Authorities in Comal County arrested Felix Vail over the weekend. He is now charged with the 1962 drowning death of his first wife, Mary Horton Vail.
On May 20, 1969, budding serial killer Smith kidnapped and sexually assaulted two women, one of whom convinced him to let her go, saying that she would not report him. That act of mercy would lead directly to his arrest. After that his victims would receive no such mercy. Ultimately even prison could not keep him from killing.
Despite lack of solid evidence, a mentally retarded man is convicted of raping and murdering a woman in 1984. It would take four more murders committed in a similar fashion–and a battery of DNA tests–for the real killer to be brought to justice.
From the outside, the big rig truck looked like any other. But inside the rig was an elaborate setup Robert Ben Rhoades had created explicitly for the purpose of torturing women – often to death.
In the 1970s, a serial killer targeted San Francisco’s gay men. Nicknamed the Doodler because he sketched portraits of his victims to strike up conversation, this forgotten murderer was never caught, largely because those in the gay community refused to talk.
Steven Soden was 16 when he disappeared while on a camping trip with his orphanage in April 1972. He and another boy, 12-year-old Donald Caldwell, were never seen again after the trip. This week, Soden’s family was relieved to learn that the young man’s death was not at the hands of notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
In 1978, Rodney Alcala was a winning contestant on the television game show “The Dating Game.” Rodney would eventually be famous for other reasons which included ruthless murders of women and teenage boys. As time goes on, suspicion continues to rise on how many people Rodney has actually killed.