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Serial Killers

       July 07, 2013 1:03 PM

 The Candy Man


Dean Corll loved candy. In the mid-1950s, when Dean was a kid, his mother opened a candy shop in Houston. Dean helped her make the candy. Years later, Houstonites dubbed him The Candy Man, because he gave local children free candy.

But he had sinister motives. Between 1970 and 1970, Dean Corll, aided by two accomplices, raped, tortured and killed at least 28 boys.

The murders didn't end until one of his accomplices killed him. 

Houston, 1970--1973


5 of The Candy Man's victims

In the early '70s, Houston was a rapidly growing city with a rising crime rate. There weren't enough police officers to investigate the crimes. Missing boys got no attention, especially if they lived in The Heights, a lower-class neighborhood. Dean killed his first victim, an 18-year-old college student, in September 1970. Others soon followed. By then, he had an accomplice, David Brooks, 15, a boy who hung out at the Corll Candy Company. 

Two young victims


On May 29, 1971. David Hilligiest, 13, and his friend, Gregory Winkle, 16, went to a swimming pool and never returned. When David's parents reported him missing, police said boys often ran away. There would be no search, but if they spotted David during school hours, he would be stopped and questioned. A runaway was not a criminal.


That night Gregory Winkle telephoned his mother. "We're in Freeport," he said. "I called to let you know where I was." Mrs. Winkle was angry, but Gregory said he was with some other boys and they would bring him home later. The next day someone told Mrs. Winkle that David and Gregory had been seen in a white van.


The Hilligiests drove to Freeport to search for David. They put up flyers, offered a reward and even hired a private detective. To no avail. Wayne Henley, stopped by the Hilligiest home and offered to hand out flyers. David's younger brothers played with Henley's younger brothers.

A cry for help?


On March 24, 1972, Frank Aguire, 18, finished working at Long John Silver's restaurant, called his girlfriend, Rhonda, and said he was on his way to see her. He never arrived. Months later, when Rhonda was at Long John Silver's, Wayne Henley told her Frank got in trouble with some Mafia types and they had taken him. He couldn't say more because he was afraid of "those people." Then Wayne Henley left the restaurant and got into Dean Corll's van.


By then, more than a dozen boys from The Heights had vanished. Their families were certain they weren't runaways, but Houston police refused to search for them.

Distraught parents


On May 21, 1972, Johnny Delome, 16, and his friend, Billy Baulch, 17, disappeared. Three days later, Mr. Baulch got a letter postmarked Madisonville, TX. In the letter, Billy wrote: Johnny and I found a better job working for a trucker. ... We'll be back in three or four weeks. After a week I will send money to help you. Love, Billy


The letter alarmed them. Mr. Baulch was a truck driver and he knew there was no job like the one Billy described. Johnny's parents received a similar letter, but they didn't believe Johnny had written it. The spelling was too perfect.


Then Billy's parents remembered David Brooks who had once given Billy drugs. They knew that Brooks' companion, Dean Corll, often invited Billy and other kids to his home (photo at right). When Billy's mother asked what they did, Billy said: Dean shows us things. Once he showed us handcuffs. [Dean] and David Brooks and somebody else [started] playing around with the handcuffs and put them on some of the boys, and Dean ... never found the key to take them off."


Billy's father said, "It's not normal for a man that old to be playing games with little boys." But when Billy's parents confronted The Candy Man, he was polite and respectful. He said he had no idea where Billy or Johnny were.

The last murder


Boys continued to disappear. Distraught parents searched for them, to no avail. But on August 8, 1973, police got a frantic call from Wayne Henley, saying he'd shot someone. When police responded, they found Dean Corll, 33, dead of six gunshot wounds. Initially they thought it was a drug party gone awry.

Then came a shocking discovery. In the bedroom they found a "torture board" (photo at right) with handcuffs, ropes and cords attached to it. Plastic sheeting covered the floor.

But the magnitude of the horror didn't become clear until Wayne took them to the boat shed.

The Candy Man


Born on Christmas Eve, 1939, Dean Corll was the first child of Arnold and Mary Corll. When Dean was six, his parents divorced. Mary took custody of Dean and his younger brother, Stanley. In 1950, the parents remarried and moved to Houston, but their second marriage also fell apart. In 1953, Mary married Jake West, a traveling salesman. They opened a candy shop in their garage. Dean and his brother ran the candy making machines.


Dean played trombone in the high school band. Teachers said he was a model student, polite, and very affectionate, especially with children. Dean graduated in 1958 and spent two years in Indianapolis, caring for his grandmother.

In 1962, he returned to Houston and moved into an apartment above the candy shop. In 1963, his mother divorced Jake West and opened the Corll Candy Company, with Dean as vice president.

One young male employee complained that Dean had made unwanted sexual advances. Dean's mother fired the boy.

In 1964, Dean was drafted, but in 1965 he received a hardship discharge to help with the candy business. Soon they called him The Candy Man.

Dean gave free candy to local children, especially teenaged boys. He put a pool table in the factory so he could hang out with them.

In 1967 he befriended 12-year-old David Brooks, a sixth grade student. 

David Brooks, the first accomplice


David Brooks was one of many boys that partied with Dean at the Corll Candy Company. When David was five, his parents divorced.

In elementary school, he got excellent grades, but later his grades dropped. Dean was paying him for sex. In 1970, David, 15, moved in with Dean.

By then, Dean's mother had divorced a third husband, closed the candy business and moved to Colorado. Dean got a job with the Houston Power and Lightening Company. Soon another boy began hanging out with David and Dean.


Wayne Henley, the second accomplice


A junior high dropout, Wayne Henley was supporting his divorced mother and his three younger brothers.

Left:  Wayne Henley left rear, Dean Corll on right,

Wayne tried to enlist in the Army but was turned down due to his lack of education.

After he was arrested for burglary and assault with a deadly weapon, Wayne began drinking heavily. In 1971, David Brooks introduced him to Dean Corll.

Unlike David, who was bisexual, Wayne had no interest in a homosexual relationship. But he was desperate for money, and Dean promised to pay him to procure young males, which Dean then sexually abused.

Wayne and David Brooks later told police Dean paid them $200 for every boy they brought him.

The party


Early on the morning of August 8, 1973, Rhonda Williams called Wayne, saying her father was drunk and threatening her. Her mother had died when Rhonda was very young, and her first love, Frank Aguire, had disappeared the previous year [see above]. Her father didn't let her friends visit her, but he liked Wayne. Rhonda asked Wayne to rescue her. Wayne smuggled Rhonda out of her house, picked up his friend Tim Kerley and drove to Dean's house. Dean was furious that he'd brought a female to the house, but Wayne calmed him down, and the party resumed.


While Dean smoked pot and drank beer, the boys drank moonshine that Wayne's father had given him. Rhonda smoked pot and fell asleep. So did Wayne. Hours later he awoke to find Dean handcuffing his wrists. Dean had already bound Tim and Rhonda and sealed their lips with electrical tape. From previous experience, Wayne knew what would happen next. Torture and a painful death.


"I'm gonna kill you," Dean shrieked, "but first I'm gonna have my fun."


Wayne pleaded with him, saying he would help Dean torture Tim. Then Dean could rape Tim, Wayne would rape Rhonda, and they would kill Tim and Rhonda. Dean threatened him with a .22-calibur pistol, but finally relented. He removed Wayne's handcuffs and untied his ankles.

Dean then took Rhonda and Tim into the bedroom and fastened them to the torture board. Photo at right


Wayne convinced him to take the tape off their mouths. Dean gave him a knife and told him to cut off Rhonda's clothes. Wayne did, but whispered that he would save her. Dean tried to rape Tim, who fought him. Wayne grabbed the gun Dean had left on the nightstand.

Dean flew into a rage and charged him, screaming, "You don't dare kill me!" Terrified, Wayne shot him six times.

Gruesome discoveries


After Tim and Rhonda corroborated Wayne's story, Wayne took police to the boat house. Police found 8 mutilated corpses in plastic bags and gruesome evidence of sexual torture. The next day police found 9 more bodies. Photo left: police dig up bodies

Accompanied by his father, David Brooks turned himself in to police. He said he knew Dean had raped and murdered two boys in 1970, but denied killing anyone.


Wayne (photo at right in jail with deputies) confessed to killing several of the boys and helping Dean kill others. He led police to Lake Sam Rayburn where more bodies were found.

David Brooks admitted he had seen Dean torture several victims and helped him bury the bodies, but he still denied killing anyone.


David and Wayne then showed police another burial ground. (photo left: Wayne and David seated, in handcuffs) All told, police found the remains of 28 young males, the worst killing spree in America at that time. Although it took many years, eventually all the victims were identified. But 42 boys disappeared while The Candy Man lived in Houston. The true number of victims may never be known.


Trial and judgment


Wayne Henley was not charged with the murder of Dean Corll, which was ruled self defense. In 1974, Wayne Henley was convicted of murdering 6 boys and sentenced to 6 consecutive 99-year jail terms. In 1975, David Brooks was convicted of murdering one boy and sentenced to life. By law, every three years both men must have a parole hearing. At this writing, both remain in prison.


In a Madman's World, a film based on Wayne Henley's life and his association with Dean Corll and David Brooks, is set for release in 2013.

More details of this case are included in my ebook: DARK DEEDS, Volume Two: Serial killers, stalkers and domestic homicides


Please leave a comment and tell me what you think about this brutal case. 


Sources: Serial Murderers and Their Victims, Eric W. Hickey, 1991. Chapter 8, Team Killers.

"Lost Boys of Texas," NY Daily News, 6/26/2008, Mara Bovsun

Dean Corll: The Sex, Sadism and Slaughter of  Houston's Candy Man


The Houston Candy Man, Catie Rhodes http://catierhodes.com/2012/08/the-houston-candy-man/

Dean Corll Crime Scene & Death Pictures


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[ Posted by sherry fundin, July 08, 2013 12:27 PM ]
     That is why I believe in the death penalty.

[ Posted by admin, July 08, 2013 5:35 PM ]
     Thanks for the comment. Yes, this was a particularly horrific case. I did not include some of the horrible details about what The Candy Man did to his victims.

[ Posted by Catie Rhodes, September 12, 2013 5:49 PM ]
     Thanks for linking to my blog. You did a great job of presenting the case.

[ Posted by admin, September 12, 2013 6:34 PM ]
     Thanks for the comment, Catie. Your blog was a terrific source and I hope others will visit your post.

[ Posted by Free candy, August 06, 2015 7:05 PM ]
     I doubt Dean loved candy..

[ Posted by admin, August 07, 2015 7:36 AM ]
     So do I, but he used the candy to lure his young victims ...

[ Posted by Christy, January 01, 2017 5:43 PM ]
     Everyone says that dean was working with someone other then Elmer and David. Well I believe my dad was his helper and I have contacted the Houston police dept and no oneis looking in to it. But I won't give up until someone listens to our family. We lived on Yale st in the heights from late 60's to the mid 70's. My brother and I believe we know where more bodies are buried but no on will listen to us. Please help we want to try to help the victims family put their kids to rest.

[ Posted by admin, January 12, 2017 2:16 PM ]
     I'm afraid I can't offer you any help with that, but good luck with your efforts.

posted by SUSAN FLEET   July 07, 2013 1:03 PM  Serial Killers 


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