‘Highway of Hell’: The True Details Behind the ‘Texas Killing Fields’

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Since the 1970s, a 50-mile desolate area has often been referred to as the “Highway of Hell” between Houston and Galveston. More than 30 young women and girls either disappeared or had been found murdered in that corridor, and the mysteries surrounding the cases have never been far from the minds of the Texas authorities that investigated the crimes, including Brian Goetschius and Michael Land, from Texas City.

In a featured story by CBS News, for “48 Hours Mystery”, federal agent Don Ferrarone noted, “This bridge up ahead had a sign on it when you came out in this direction…it said, ‘You are now entering the cruel world,'” as he and the reporter, Erin Moriarty, drove along Interstate 45. “And it’s just, you know, it’s just a perfect place [for] killing somebody and getting away with it…If you can just imagine having one of these little girls out here…one of these young girls out here…and there’s no chance for them to be rescued, to be helped. And they’re on they’re own,” said Ferrarone.

It was chilling detail such as this, together with the haunting faces of the victims, which inspired him to pen the screenplay for the movie “Texas Killing Fields,” compelling Sam Worthington to take the lead role. “I looked at that and it was just tens and tens of girls that had gone missing and I have got a young sister and you know it kind of disturbed me in a way that I just said straight away, ‘I wanted to be a part of this,’ to get this story out and make people aware of what’s gone down there will hopefully maybe shed some light on some of the disappearances and the mysteries involved,” he explained.

Highway of Hell: The True Details Behind the ‘Texas Killing Fields’

Photo: Facebook/Chloe Grace Moretz The Angel

Released in 2011, “Texas Killing Fields” went on to critical acclaim, but the mystery of what actually took place in those fields remains etched into the minds and memories of investigators. Michael Land served as a study for Sam Worthington’s film character. The other lead role is played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, which was inspired by Brian Goetschius. In the movie, Morgan’s character prays over the bodies. That’s something that Goetschius does in real life. “Are you praying for their souls?” the CBS correspondent asked. “Oh sure. For me it’s that little bit of comfort to step into it and give people some answers,” he explained.

Details related to these and other abductions and murders in the area which Goetschius has had experience with are further outlined in the CBS interview, a link for which is provided here. To say that he became a sort of guardian angel for locals would be an understatement. In 1996, the body of 13-year-old Krystal Jean Baker of Texas City was found dumped in Chambers County. Although it took years for justice to be served, in April of 2012, Kevin Edison Smith was convicted of her murder. He was sentenced to life without parole, spared the death penalty because the investigators believed he might have been involved with other unsolved murders in the “Highway of Hell”. Goetschius was integral to the investigation and became a guardian angel of sorts to Baker’s mother in the process. The fact that any of this occurred is unsettling, to say the least. The fact that dedicated people like Ferrarone, Land, and Goetschius were on the job brings as much comfort to the families of the victims as one might think could be had.