Neighbours told the police that Dean Corll was a good man who regularly attended church. He’d pretended to them that he was a widower so they’d assumed that Wayne Henley was his son and that the younger boys who entered the house were his son’s friends. But Wayne was now able to tell the police that Dean liked little boys and that he’d procured them for him. Being economical with the truth, he added that Dean had told him during their gunfight that he’d killed a few other boys.
For several hours the police did nothing with this information, assuming that Wayne Henley was hallucinating after his paint-sniffing session, but a policeman who had a young male relative missing – and who knew that other boys were missing – suggested they check out his tale.
The police asked Wayne if he knew where the burial sites were and he took them to the boat shed first and they began to dig up the floor, soon finding body after body. Each was neatly wrapped in plastic which Dean Corll had stolen from his workplace and some still had their hands tied or handcuffed behind their backs. One boy’s mouth was stretched wide open in a last desperate gasp for air as he’d been strangled, whilst others had rope still tied tightly around their necks. A few were so badly decomposed that they were merely disjointed bones and skulls, but a bike found in the shed belonged to a thirteen-year-old boy who had gone missing less than a week before.
Wayne Henley was close to a nervous breakdown as the bodies were brought out so the police treated him gently, letting him phone his mother and sit in the police car to compose himself. In turn, he said that he was grateful to them for not beating him up and he began to talk. For the first time he admitted his own part in some of the murders, saying that he’d helped Dean Corll to strangle one of the victims. He added that there were more bodies at another two burial sites.
That first day, the diggers found eight corpses in the boat shed. The following day they discovered several more. Almost all of the bodies were gagged and some contained bullet wounds whilst others had cord wrapped around their throats. Sometimes the genitalia – with telltale knife wounds or teeth marks showing the means of castration – was found in a separate bag. The smallest body was that of a nine-year-old, the oldest in their teens. At the end of the day, the investigators had found another nine bodies, bringing the total to seventeen.
Wayne now led them to the second burial site, the Corll’s lakeside retreat. It yielded up another two decomposing bodies. Later, further bodies were found at the Angelina National Forest, making a total of twenty-seven. Wayne said that there were more, that the total was over thirty, but investigators gave up at this stage.
The teenager was glad that his co-killer was dead and was desperate to confess further details but he shook so badly in custody that he had to be tranquillised. When asked why he did it, he said that being shot at by his own father had been pivotal. He also hinted that Dean Corll had been blackmailing him. Corll might have threatened to tell the world that he’d had sex with Wayne knowing that Wayne was outwardly fiercely heterosexual. Indeed, the teenager kept emphasising to the detectives that he’d had a girlfriend.
He also said that Dean had failed to pay him for procuring most of the boys, which suggested that he had enjoyed killing them. He admitted that two or three had been so difficult to strangle that he’d had to ask Dean to help. David Brook would also confirm this view of Wayne as someone who wanted on some level to kill, saying that Wayne had enjoyed causing the victims pain.
The abducted boys had suffered horrendously. One teenager, after being repeatedly raped, had been forced to watch his friend being strangled to death by Wayne Henley. David Brooks tried to pacify the terrified survivor, upon which Wayne shot the boy in the face. A moment later he regained consciousness and pleaded for his freedom, whereupon Wayne strangled him to death.
When the other prisoners on remand heard of what Henley had done they wanted to kill him and he had to be moved to solitary confinement for his own safety. His lawyer described him as physically and mentally ill and said that the recreational drugs and alcohol which he’d used liberally had put him into a temporarily psychotic state.
David Brooks was interviewed at length and at first denied ever seeing any cruelty taking place at Dean’s house. But later he made a full statement and gave details of many of the tortures. He added that when it came to killing the boys ‘It didn’t bother me to see it. I saw it done many times. I just wouldn’t do it myself. And I never did do it myself.’
His father proved very supportive to him when he was in custody. The older man wept as he realised that his son had procured some of these boys, knowing the atrocities which awaited them