The mass murder of almost thirty young boys in Houston may well have been the most heinous crime of the century. How could such a series of murders go undetected for almost three years before being exposed? The Man with the Candy is a brilliant investigative journalist's story of the crime and the answer to that question.
The night David Hilligiest didn't come home was both like and unlike other nights when other Houston boys disappeared between the years 1971 and 1973. At three in the morning the police were called, but they just said that boys were running away from the best of homes nowadays and that they'd list David as a runaway. No, there would be no official search for the youngster.
Aghast, the Hilligiests, in the months that followed, hired their own detective, put up posters, even sought the aid of clairvoyants. But David never did come home again because, along with at least twenty-six other Houston boys, he had been murdered and buried by the homosexual owner of a candy factory, the mass murderer of the century, Dean Corll, according to his two teenage confessed accomplices, Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr., and David Brooks. Many of the young boys had not even been reported as missing, and the fact that they were dead would probably never have come to light had not one of the murderers confessed. For in Houston, where in a typical year the total number of murders is twice that of London despite the fact that London is six times as large and far more densely populated, missing persons and violence are likely to be considered commonplace.
In the months before the trial of Henley and Brooks, Jack Olsen interviewed and probed for answers about the criminals, the victims and the city itself, which remained for the most part silent, angry and defensive. The result is a classic of true crime reportage.
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As a former resident of the Heights in Houston, I was absolutely fascinated with this story of the Houston Child Murders. The book really exposes a side of Houston I can attest to - the thriving metropolis is built on the idea that little to no restrictions are best, and the Dean Corll saga really highlights the downfall to this philosophy with the public services' complete inability to respond to the needs of Houstonians.