The Horrific Crimes of the Texas ‘Candy Man Killer’

Dearn Arnold Corll was known as the “Candy Man” in his community long before his terrible crimes came to light. He owned and operated a candy factory in Houston Heights, like his family had before him, and was known for handing out candy to the local kids.

However, in August of 1973 the “Candy Man” moniker became much more sinister when his heinous actions were finally exposed. His twisted crimes spanned across three years, and Corll would become known as one of the most horrific serial killers in American history at the time.

Between the years of 1970 and 1973, Corll the “Candy Man” killed 28 victims on a horrific murder spree—and may have an even greater number of victims who have not been attributed to him.

During those three years, Corll would lure teenagers and young men—usually with the promise of a party—and abduct them into his car. He would take them back to his home and, in most cases, gave them drugs and alcohol until they lost consciousness. In some situations he would simply overpower his victims with brute force, but the end result was always the same.

He would tie the young men to his bed, stripped them, beat them and tortured them. The victims would also be sexually assaulted before he inevitably killed them.

Corll would occasionally keep his victims alive for many days at a time, but ultimately he would either strangle or shoot them with a pistol.

He kept up his gruesome scheme and eluded capture through various means. He never stayed at the same residence for long, and he would force hostages to contact their family and make excuses for their extended absences.

In order to dispose of his victims’ bodies, Corll would wrap them in plastic sheeting and leave them in remote places. When he was eventually caught, authorities discovered that he hid bodies in a rented storage shed, dumped them in the woods near a family-owned cabin, and on beaches.

Corll was aided in his crimes by two men. David Brooks first caught Corll in the act of assaulting two teenage boys, but his silence was bought with the bribe Corll offered of a new car.

Brooks was later bribed with money if he would lure unsuspecting boys to Corll for him.

The second man who knew of Corlls crimes was 15-year-old Elmer Wayne Henley. Brooks introduced Henley to Corll, and the teenager was offered money in exchange for helping lure more boys.

Henley would later claim that at first he didn’t know the danger the victims faced at the hands of Corll, but he did admit to becoming an active participant—along with Brook—in the abductions and subsequent murders of multiple victims.

The grisly murder and abductions only came to light after Corll turned on Henley. In August, 1973 Corll threatened to kill Henley over a disagreement.

The two fought and, during a scuffle Henley got possession of a pistol and fired at Corll. Corll was shot six times and died.

Henley then contacted police, and confessed to killing Corll, and later admitted to assisting in many of the kidnappings and killings.

You can learn more of the gruesome details of the Candy Man case and subsequent investigation here and here.