The Texarkana Moonlight Murders–The Phantom

The scene was a mild small town in the early springtime. 1946 wasn’t a time when a lot of murder or crime took place, yet this year was going to be different. In fact, for the first 8 weeks of springtime, the season of renewal, it was goign to be a bloodbath that the town would remember forever. It began in February of 1946 and ran until May when the murders stopped. The 8 weeks of terror that ran in between held a town in a firm grip.

For 8 weekends the Phantom victimized Texarkana.The first two victims, Mary Larey and Jimmy Hollis survived their violent attack, spending weeks in a hospital. The young woman was violated in ways that she would never forget.

A week later, Richard Griffin and Polly Ann Moore were attacked while parked on a lover’s lane. They did not survive. The second couple, Paul Martin and Betty Jo Booker took place just three weeks from the first. They too were shot and beaten late at night. Neither victim survived the abuse they suffered.

The renowned Texas Rangers entered the fray, seeking the murderers and even the famous Lone Wolf Gonzaullus hunted for those who were responsible to no avail. Three weeks later, Virgil Starks was murdered and his young wife was seriously wounded.

The town was in a panic. The city locked its doors and residents refused to go out after dark in many cases. Armed police patrols moved throught he streets and the local stores could not keep guns in stock any more. The town hid in fear, keeping to their homes. Some people even tried baiting the Phantom killer out and getting him to attack them so that they could kill them.

To this day, many of the residents don’t know what happened, or how it happened. The town has changed enough that it’s difficult to even find where it happened, but people don’t forget. The Phantom came–he killed–he stopped as quickly as he started. No one has ever been brought to justice for the murders of 6 young people and the 8 weeks of terror that one town will never forget.

What happened to the Phantom Killer or the Phantom Slayer? Did he die in prison, arrested for some other crime or is he still walking free today?

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