Happy Birthday Dean Corrl! Remembering 'The Candy Man' Serial Killer

"You get close to evil like that, no matter how long ago it was, and it never leaves you."

Dean Corrl, nicknamed "The Candy Man" by American press outlets, was born on December 24th, 1939. In the early 1970's, Corrl abducted and tortured at least 28 boys before being gunned down by an accomplice. Although he never exactly lured children with promises of sweets, his penchant for sugary snacks earned him a rather insidiuous nickname.

Corrl's childhood was rather unremarkable. The son of the overly protective Mary Robinson and the openly harsh Arnold Edwin Corll, Dean watched his parents divorce, remarry, and divorce again. Mary would eventually marry a travelling clock salesman, with the two opening a family business selling — you guessed it — candy.

Dean was drafted into the army in 1964. Although his record during his service was unblemished, according to biographer David Hanna, it has since come out that Corrl began to question his sexuality around this time. He would eventually leave the army to move back home and work for his family's business.

It was between 1970-1973 that Corll began abducting, murdering, and raping boys. After befriending local teens who would help with the abductions, Dean would manacle the 13 to 20 year olds to a bed and violate them. After a few days, he would either strangle or shoot them, tying the corpses up in plastic and hiding the bodies in various locations.

Corrl wasn't as meticulous of a murderer as someone like Ted Bundy. It's unclear how many boys Dean had killed before he got to the bungled kidnapping of local teen Timothy Cordell Kerley. Corll's frequent accomplice Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr. turned on him after implying that Dean had gone too far this time. Henley shot Corll in the head, killing him. Henley went on to confess to a handful of crimes he comitted with Corll. 

It's similarly unclear exactly how many murders Corll racked up while on his spree, which at the time was characterized as "the worst example of serial murder in American history." A total of 42 boys had vanished from the Houston area at the time, but only 28 were ever confirmed as victims of The Candy Man. 

"How that man was able to go out to that storage shed, time after time, and bury one more dead boy is something I'll never understand. You get close to evil like that, no matter how long ago it was, and it never leaves you," said Detective David Mullican, recollecting the Houston Mass Murders. 

[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]

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