Checking their notes, the reporters said Corll had once been a resident of the Heights, where he had helped his mother run a small candy factory on West Twenty-second Street. Scott grabbed her husband’s hand and said, “Oh, Mark.

Our poor Mark.” By the next day, police officers were exhuming bodies from a wooded area near Sam Rayburn Reservoir, outside Lufkin, and on a beach at High Island, east of Houston.

After taking the boys to one of Corll’s apartments or rent houses—Corll was constantly moving, sometimes staying in one place for only a few weeks—Henley and Brooks would help Corll strip them naked, tape their mouths, bind their hands and legs, and fasten them with handcuffs to a sheet of plywood that was two and a half feet wide and eight feet long.

Often they forced the boys to write a letter to their parents or sometimes even call them, letting them know they were okay and would be back soon.

In those first few weeks, she left work early to wait on her stoop, looking left and right.

She walked to the chain-link fence at the edge of the yard, cocked her head, and stared down the street. “At night, whenever I heard a noise, I’d get out of bed and walk to the front door,” Mrs. “I always prayed he would be there, so I could give him a hug.” Then, on the evening of August 8, 1973, the Houston television stations cut into their regular programming, and Mrs.

Mary Scott walked out of her tiny brick house, one hand clutching a plastic tub of birdseed, the other holding on to the front door in case she lost her balance.

Taking her time, she stepped off the front stoop and onto a pebbled sidewalk that her husband, Walter, dead now for a decade, had laid down one weekend in the mid-sixties. “Miss Whitey, I call her.” Suddenly her voice faltered, the doves forgotten. Scott had noticed a young man down the block, walking past one of the new three-story townhomes that now line the street, some of them still unoccupied, the builder’s signs advertising wood-paneled ceilings, recessed lighting, and granite countertops.

Some of the bodies were covered with a layer of lime powder and shrouded in clear plastic, their faces looking up at the men uncovering them.

Others were nothing more than lumps of putrefied flesh.

Big and broad-shouldered, with thick black hair and sideburns, he was known, in the words of one reporter, as the “pleasant, smiling candy man of the Heights,” always handing out treats to neighborhood children who dropped by his mother’s factory.