In Odessa, TX in the 1980's murder and violent crime were a part of daily life.  The National Coalition to Ban Guns, an anti-handgun group, branded Odessa the "homicide capital of America" in 1983. They based their unflattering title on Odessa's 1982 murder rate of 29.8 per 100,000 residents, which just barely beat out Miami. Unsolved crimes of all manner are still left on, and off the books, to remind of just how dangerous life was back then.

When I say "on, and off the books" what I mean is that of the admittedly long list of unsolved murders and missing persons for Ector county there are still plenty that for some reason aren't on any searchable public forum, but that's a story for another time.

Denise Doreen Christie Brothers was just a year older than I am now when she was reporter missing on New Years day 1994. Her body was eventually found a few weeks later on February 2nd in some tall grass along a fence line near an abandoned building in the 2700 block of Van Street by a Coca Cola bottling company employee as he was backing up in the empty lot. He initially thought the body was a mannequin before a closer look revealed the sad truth. She was found less than a mile from where she was reported to have been last seen in the parking lot of a hotel on 2nd and West County road.  She was found partially nude and decomposing however an autopsy would later reveal that she had been strangled.

Her family was left with no answers until May of this year. A man who is being called ' one of the most prolific serial killers in the U.S., if not the most prolific serial killer in America history' by Ector County District Attorney, Bobby Bland, is being held in the Ector county jail. His name is Samuel McDowell also known as Samuel Little. He's confessed to the 1994 murder of Denise Christie Brothers, giving authorities intimate details of the crime that only the killer would know. He's suspected in over 90 murders over 52 years and across 46 states. Some of you may or may not know this but I've been researching unsolved murders and missing persons cases in our area for years and it's always been my belief that a serial killer was responsible for more than a few of the cases particularly out of Ector county. You can hear more on this and other local cases on a new podcast, just message me and I'll send you the link as soon as it's up.

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