Unsolved Serial Killings;Texas/Arkansas, Texarkana





Texas/Arkansas, Texarkana


The town of Texarkana, nestled directly on top of the Arkansas-Texas border, was the unlikely scene of one of America's most baffling cases of serial murder.

The first attack took place on February 23, 1946, when a masked gunman approached a parked car on a lonely lovers lane outside of Texarkana. The assailant forced the male, Jimmy Hollis, from the vehicle and knocked him out. His attention then focused on Hollis' companion Mary Larey, who he sexually assaulted with the barrel of his gun before losing control of the situation and leaving the scene with both victims still alive, though Hollis was seriously injured.

The unknown predator enjoyed more success on March 23 when he opened fire with a .32 calibre pistol at another remote lovers lane, killing Richard Griffin, 29, and Polly Ann Moore, 17. Strangely, both victims were found shot in the head inside their vehicle though other evidence showed they were likely shot dead while outside the car.

Seventeen-year-old Paul Martin and fifteen-year-old Betty Joe Booker were the next unfortunate lovers to fall prey. The two were parked near Spring Lake Park when they were apparently abducted and were found shot to death at seperate locations hours later.

Though it is debatable, the last attack of the 'Moonlight Murderer' seems to have taken place on May 4, when farmer Virgil Starks was shot to death through his kitchen window with a .22 rifle. His wife was also wounded twice before escaping on foot. Before police managed to respond, the man dubbed 'The Phantom Killer' tracked bloody footprints throughout the Starks home before disappearing forever.

Two days later a man was found stabbed and mangled on train tracks near Texarkana, leading to speculation that the Phantom had claimed a victim by news means (or was trying to end the manhunt with a staged suicide) , but most seem to dismiss the murdered man as a possible victim. At least one suspect seemed to stand a fair chance of being the elusive shooter but nothing could ever be proven. The 1946 murders in Texarkana remain unsolved, probably forever.




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