Carmen Croan Reward in Cold Case Increased
It's been 38 years since Permian High School graduate Carmen Melinda Croan was found murdered. Like many others in the area at the time, she was found on an oilfield lease. This oilfield lease happen to be about 12 miles North of State Highway 158 and FM 1936, so pretty well outside of Odessa. She was last seen at Graham's Night Club back when it was over on 8th street. Her car was found in the night clubs parking lot. Carmen was one of three women murdered in a three month time period. Carmen was the first. Her murder was senseless and pointless. She had no known enemies, she wasn't involved in anything dangerous, wasn't putting herself in risky situations, didn't hang around with the wrong crowd, didn't have an angry ex-boyfriend...not that any of those things makes murder right or easier to understand because it doesn't. She wasn't doing anything that any of us have probably done countless times at that age. She was a night club and then she was gone. Herb Graham, the night clubs owner offered a $10,000 reward for information and it's wasn't 19 days after the discovery or her body that a set of bloody mens clothed were found a couple of miles from the crime scene. Painfully, Carmen's body was exhumed in November and in December a man named Murray Galloway was indicted for her murder. Murray was a drifter from New Mexico. The investigation all started when he was arrested for kidnapping a 28 year old Odessa man. The case didn't go far however. Photos from Carmen's exhumation, which was three months after her death, were reviewed by experts. Dr. Richard Souviron and Dr. Homer Campbell, both experts in forensic odontology at the time, were brought in to compare what were thought to be bite marks on Carmen's body with that of Murray Galloway's. The case was dismissed and Galloway eventually released after Dr. Souviron, the same expert who's testimony sent serial killer Ted Bundy to death row, disagreed that the bite marks were similar. I mention that specifically from all the other things that went on during the investigation because forensic odontology has since been found to be a debunked science. At the time many of the people involved in the case considered it to be closed as far as figuring out who was responsible. Murray, the man accused of her murder died in New Mexico in 2006. A man who once fought George Foreman was rumored to be a suspect in her murder, he was working there at the night club that evening, a woman who was herself the victim of murder the same month as Carmen in 1984, Janet Gregston, was likely working at Graham's the night Carmen was last seen. The man who confessed to Janet's murder could've been around in 1981 when Carmen was killed but then the same could be said about Michael Eugene Sharp, the little known west Texas serial killer who left bodies in places that he knew, oilfield roads and leases, much the way Carmen's body was left.
The reward for information in Carmen's case has been raised to $6,000. Surely there is someone, somewhere who can finally bring a close to this case once and for all and help to bring some kind of peace to her family and loved ones. A content writer, who started out with the intentions of writing a book about 1979 Texas Golden Gloves champion, Charlie "Tuffy" Hostetter, has done some very in-depth investigating on Carmen's case. She's been advocating for justice for Carmen while writing a book about the case. Visit her Facebook group, Violated: Justice for Carmen.
If you have any information regarding the case call 1-800-252-8477 or visit the Texas Ranger cold case website.