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She was raped, strangled, set on fire in a field. The cops say they found his killer.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office After nearly four decades, a 75-year-old Texas man has been arrested for sexually assaulting a woman before strangling her and setting her body on fire in a field – a gruesome crime on which a notorious self-proclaimed serial killer has already insisted. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that Thomas Elvin Darnell had been charged with capital murder in connection with the murder of Laura Marie Purchase in March 1983. Darnell was arrested on May 11 at his home in Kansas and extradited to the Texas Thursday. He is being held unrelatedly in the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office jail. Authorities say Purchase had been missing for months before Darnell sexually assaulted her, then fatally strangled her and set her on fire in a wooded area near ‘a highway. Achat’s naked body, which was left “posed” at the scene, was found on March 17, 1983 by an assistant on patrol who responded to reports of a roadside fire in an area where the 18 wheels were known to come together. She was positively identified in May 1986. Prior to her murder, Purchase lived in Houston with a man named “Howie” and played in the local band “Malibu”. Husband arrested for murder 11 years after claiming his wife was Darnell’s arrest marks the second time authorities believed they had solved Purchase’s case. Henry Lee Lucas, also known as the Highway Stalker, first confessed to the murder before he was even identified. He was convicted of his murder in 1986. Lucas confessed to committing up to 600 murders between 1960 and 1983 and was convicted of murdering 11 people and sentenced to death. Lucas’s sentence was eventually commuted to life in prison in 1998 before he died. from natural causes in 2001. At least 200 of Lucas’ murderous confessions have since been debunked, the sheriff’s department said. His murderous frenzy – and penchant for false confessions – was detailed in Netflix’s The Confession Killer. Lucas’s alleged criminal partner Otis Elwood Toole has also been cleared of any wrongdoing. “In October 2019, investigators sent the DNA evidence for genealogical testing. An investigation from this genealogical report showed that Thomas Elvin Darnell, a 75-year-old man from Kansas City, Kansas, was a potential suspect. A DNA search warrant for Thomas Darnell was obtained as a result of the investigation, ”the sheriff’s office said in a press release Friday. The discovery sent detectives to Kansas City, Kansas in March to collect a new DNA sample from Darnell. Last month, the sample was found to be positive. Learn more about The Daily Beast. Get our best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Register now! Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.