Was the Texas Killing Fields solved? A new Netflix doc focuses on the crimes

The streamer revisits an unthinkable story in its third installment of 'Crime Scene'

Tim Miller from 'Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields' visiting the fields where his daughter was discovered
(Image credit: NETFLIX © 2022)

Was the Texas Killing Fields solved? People are curious now that Netflix dropped a new true crime documentary on the subject.

Part of the streamer's late 2022 lineup, Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields is the third project in the series following The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, which focuses on Elisa Lam's mysterious disappearance and tragic death, and The Times Square Killer, which centers on Richard Cottingham's crimes. 

Now, powerhouses Ron Howard, Joe Berlinger and Brian Grazer have teamed up to tell a story that plagues the southern state. Though the Texas Killing Fields is vast, and there's more than one mystery to solve, the new docu-series follows four prominent cases that emerged from the Houston area.  

Was the Texas Killing Fields solved?

In short, no. The Texas Killing Fields has not been solved, and authorities are still investigating the tragedies. (And some would argue that the police had not been cooperative at the height of the investigations.) 

Before we uncover what's going on today, we have to revisit a painful past. According to Newsweek, between 1971 and 2006, over 30 female bodies were found along the interstate corridor connecting Houston and Galveston. Ages of the victims ranged from 12 to 25 years old. Unsurprisingly, this particular area earned the horrible nickname, "highway to hell." 

In the trailer for the new series, we hear an unidentified woman—likely a family member of a victim—state, "How can it be that no one can figure out who killed them?"

Then, shortly before the teaser's conclusion, we hear a man ask, "Was there one killer? Multiple killers? There was no answer."

Texas Killing Fields documentary: Netflix's focus

The tragedy in this area spans decades and affects countless families. Instead of focusing on the fields as a whole, the Netflix doc hones in on four victims: Laura Miller, Heidi Fye, Audrey Lee Cook and Donna Gonsoulin Prudhomme.

Where are the Texas Killing Fields located?

The Texas Killing Fields, an abandoned oil field, encompasses a roughly 30-mile span between Houston and Galveston along the I-45. It's owned by Robert Abel, a former NASA engineer who transformed part of the area into stables.

Texas Killing Fields suspects

Since he had owned the fields, Robert Abel came under suspicion, especially when he had tried to help solve some of the cases. 

In 1999, he confessed to Texas Monthly, "My life has been destroyed, my reputation ruined. I didn’t kill any of those girls. I wouldn’t know how to kill."

There wasn't any evidence tying him to the cases, yet he could not regain his reputation, which led to a tragic ending. Skip Hollandsworth, the Texas Monthly reporter who wrote about Abel and appeared in the Netflix doc, admitted there was no evidence to pin the homicides on Abel. 

Tim Miller, the father of victim Laura Miller, appears in the documentary as well, and he believes a fellow neighbor, mechanic Clyde Hedrick—who had a history of violent crimes—was the one responsible for his daughter's death, and likely others in the vicinity. In 1996, Hedrick was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for Ellen Rae Simpson Beason's 1984 death. When her death was ruled a homicide many years later in 2014, according to Newsweek, Hedrick was convicted.

There's still plenty to uncover, and everyone's hoping for justice for those who suffered tragic, unnecessary deaths. For similar series, check out the best true crime on Netflix.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.