True Crime

Only in Texas could crime stories contain such characters as a murderous cheer mom, a fraudulent fruitcake accountant, and a polo shirt–wearing bandit. Over the years, we’ve shone a light on these true tales to look deeper than the headlines and tell the stories of the victims.
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Illustration by Hokyoung Kim

Cover Stories

Local newspaper coverage of the Wilbur Grayson school shooting.

The Aftermath

In 1978, an eighth grader killed his teacher. After 20 months in a psychiatric facility, he was freed. His classmates still wonder: What really happened?

96 Minutes

At 11:48 a.m. on August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman began firing his rifle from the top of the University of Texas Tower at anyone and everyone in his sights. At 1:24 p.m., he was gunned down himself. The lives of the people who witnessed the sniper’s spree firsthand would never

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Did Kari Baker, despondent over her daughter’s passing, commit suicide? Or was she killed by her husband, Matt, a Baptist preacher in Waco and an alleged sexual predator? He says he didn’t do it, but her family insists otherwise—and they say they’ll keep after him until justice is done.

Podcast

Tom Brown’s Body

Tom Brown went missing in 2016.

To this day, no one knows what happened. The mystery has upended the Panhandle idyll of Canadian.

Series: Love + Death

Read the inspiration behind a series from HBO Max, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jesse Plemons, that will premiere in 2023.

Latest

True Crime |
June 14, 2021

Pecos Jane Has a Name

The young woman who mysteriously drowned in the Ropers Motel pool in 1966 might have remained anonymous forever, if not for cutting-edge genetics, old-fashioned genealogy—and the kindness of a small West Texas town.

Tom Brown’s Body |
September 29, 2020

Tom Brown’s Body

In 2016 a popular teenager disappeared in the tiny Panhandle community of Canadian, Texas. Two years later, his remains were discovered beneath a tree outside of town. But to this day, no arrests have been made, and nearly everyone involved in the case has fallen under suspicion. Beginning September 29,

Tom Brown’s Body |
September 29, 2020

Tom Brown’s Body, Chapter 1: A Pretty Little Place

In 2016 a popular teenager disappeared in the tiny Panhandle community of Canadian. Two years later, his remains were discovered beneath a tree outside of town. But to this day, no arrests have been made, and it seems that nearly everyone involved in the case has fallen under suspicion.

True Crime |
March 18, 2020

The Aftermath

In 1978, an eighth grader killed his teacher. After 20 months in a psychiatric facility, he was freed. His classmates still wonder: What really happened?

True Crime |
May 19, 2018

Jeff Pike, Texas’s Own Tony Soprano

Earlier this spring, Jeff Pike, the head of the infamous Texas-based Bandidos motorcycle club, went on trial in federal court for racketeering. Prosecutors called him a ruthless killer, the man behind one of the deadliest biker shootouts in American history at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. Pike, however, said

True Crime |
August 24, 2016

The Yes Man

He was just a regular kid in South Texas, until a brush with the law propelled Gabriel Cardona into petty crime—and the service of a drug lord rising to power across the Rio Grande. In this exclusive excerpt from Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico’s Most Dangerous Drug Cartel, Dan

True Crime |
August 2, 2016

96 Minutes

At 11:48 a.m. on August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman began firing his rifle from the top of the University of Texas Tower at anyone and everyone in his sights. At 1:24 p.m., he was gunned down himself. The lives of the people who witnessed the sniper’s spree firsthand would never

True Crime |
July 13, 2016

The Murders at the Lake

In 1982 three teenagers were killed near the shores of Lake Waco in a seemingly inexplicable crime. More than three decades later, the tragic and disturbing case still casts a long, dark shadow.

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