With the rape of an exotic dancer in northwest Houston on Terra Cotta Drive, June 20, 1990, we have a valuable clue to the skulking modus of the Houston Stalker, enough at least to induce his actions on the night he murdered Cheryl Henry and Andy Atkinson.
The exotic dancer had worked at GiGi’s, and she returned home at 2 a.m. He was waiting upstairs, fishnet hood on, gun in left hand, and standing at the bedroom door. He knew her schedule, at least in the rough. He knew her boyfriend’s name was Randy. He asked “Where is Randy?” So he wasn’t entirely sure where the boyfriend might have been.
So what do we deduce? He learned of her schedule from visiting GiGi’s more than once, but didn’t have a close window into her life otherwise. He must have followed her home one night and learned the address of the house she lived in with her beau.
Two, we must infer that she was his ultimate target and interpret that he wasn’t scared of taking on and binding the boyfriend should she have arrived home with him.
Now– the night of August 22, 1990, two months later. Young Andy and Cheryl left another club– Bayou Mama’s. They went to park at Enclave Round, known back then as a Lovers’ Lane. The industrial park for which the area was in development was slow in coming. So the broad Enclave Parkway was in, even the street lining trees were planted. Cul de sacs were here and there leading to the plowed fields and old trees lines that had enclosed the old farmland.
Houston’s Channel 11 obtained this old aerial of the industrial complex as it looked back then. Atkinson had parked in the circle area of the cul de sac. The thick stand of trees in the far right is the crime scene. You can see how a game path leads there from the circle.
Here they sat on Enclave Round petting, talking, whatever. They were in Andy’s white Honda Civic. The line of trees to the south is about 400 feet from the cul de sac. The next morning when the youngsters had not returned home, a search was started. A security guard had found the car, and called Cheryl’s mother using the phone number in Cheryl’s purse, which was in the car (the car windows were rolled down).
A search commenced, and later the police found their bodies in the densest part of the tree line 400 feet from the Civic. Cheryl had been raped, her wrists bound with hemp rope behind her, she lay face down, with rotted cedar fence palings put on top of her. Her throat had been cut thrice– I’m assuming right to left indicating a left handed perpetrator. About 50 yards away, tied around a tree with hemp rope was Andy. His throat had been cut so deeply he was almost beheaded.
One of his golf clubs had been taken by the perp and laid down on the ground, pointing to Cheryl’s body. A few golf balls made a line pointing toward her.
There, in general, it is. The crime went unsolved. Until 2008 no one knew that the perp had been ready to take on a couple in their own home a couple of months before. The backlog of rape kits from Houston PD was finally processed and a match was made between the rapist/killer of Henry and the rapist and home terrorizer of the exotic dancer from GiGi’s.
Knowing what we know now, we can see a connection. The creep wasn’t scared to take on couples. He wanted the woman really bad and probably came across his intended victims from cruising the club scene.
Both Cheryl and Andy worked at them as well. So we cannot be certain that their killer came across Cheryl while scoping Bayou Mama’s that night. He may have had his eyes on her for a while and was following her at a safe distance that night. He came ready with hemp rope, a knife, probably also a gun as a control weapon, a flashlight, and was prepared to do extending raping and killing in an open area like the undeveloped development.
The exotic dancer at GiGi’s said he had a military stance and bearing, and used aggressive, vulgar language.
We don’t need to go into the crime scene details in this post, but a few points of logistics must be considered. Remember, part of understanding and hence solving a crime is reenacting it. We have to consider just what a perp would need to do to pull this off successfully. The body of facts as we now have them tell us this creep wasn’t just cruising a lovers’ lane area and looking for victims. The odds would be astronomical that he would come across a victim that also worked at an exotic club like his first victim. Therefore we must conclude that his intent was on Cheryl Henry for a while and he followed them that night at a distance and knew it was them in that white Civic.
How did he do it? Did he drive past on Enclave Parkway and see the car sitting down the cul de sac? Did he drive through the cul de sac first and then return? I think the latter unlikely. But he could have parked down the cul de sac at a distance from them. They would have thought it another couple. Then he skulks up and appears at their open window. Or he could have driven up and parked behind them and played cop. This would mean that he had a pretty imposing car. Andy was parked (from the looks of it) at the back of the circle or facing Enclave Parkway toward the back of the circle. They would have seen any car enter the round and then drive down it.
There was blood in the car, so the creep subdued and had to subdue Andy first. Walking a couple in this condition across a plowed field to the densest part of the tree line (in the dark of night) is quite something. I must assume that he took the golf balls and club at the same time. It is hard to believe he came and went from the car after killing them just to position some artifacts. But who knows. The footprint pattern would have told us. The club and balls may have been in the field closer to the car and a taunting message to walk toward the tree line. If so, this would indicate he did walk back to the circle after the murder (thus he had parked there himself).
Comparing the photos above, 1989 and 2002, and then looking at the aerial provided by Houston’s Channel 11, reveals the line of trees was maintained largely intact when the area was finally developed after 1995. The road to the back parking lot was cut through the tree line. Two trees stand forward but close to the line, and they can still be seen in the 2002 Google on the right. One still remains today.
The killer seemed particularly angry at Andy, so I assume Andy had, in fact, challenged him. He patiently tied him up to a tree trunk and then went at it with vengeance. Before or after raping Henry? I assume before.
But this was obviously a very aggressive attack by an accomplished stalker of the club scene, and someone so arrogant that once he fixed a target in his lustful and demented mind nothing was going to stop him.
We will leave it here at this post. Consider the pictures and just what it would take to have the confidence to pull off such a protracted crime at a location like this, on a couple that could not possibly have been random targets. Could he have parked behind them and not fear a cop would check two empty cars at a lovers’ lane? Cops check those locations. Did he park elsewhere and walk a distance to the car? Was he in the military and hence only stationed in Houston for a while? Has this night stalker struck the club scene elsewhere around the country?
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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.