Martha entered her home and put the groceries in the foyer. Her need to use the bathroom was urgent. “Next!” she called out, as was the custom in their home. Her husband suddenly appeared through the make-shift curtain and descended the stairs wearing only his boxer shorts. As she ascended, she heard the quiet voice of her eleven-year-old daughter, "I'm almost dressed. I'm hurrying." Martha's world suddenly turned upside down. She had two children to protect. Where should she go? What should she do?
Travel with Sgt. Davis as he takes you through the extensive investigation that covers several Southeast Texas counties, as well as a mountaintop ranch in far West Texas. Sit with the jurors as they hear candid testimony of how a master manipulator managed to molest his daughter for over seven years.
Sgt. Bill Davis is a thirty-six-year veteran of the Beaumont, Texas Police Department where he investigated over 7,000 cases involving child abuse and sex crimes allegations. As an internationally recognized motivational speaker and consultant, Sgt. Davis has conducted lecture workshops, and school programs on the awareness, prevention, and intervention of child abuse and sex crimes to over 300,000 people. For his last seventeen-years at BPD, Sgt. Davis was the department’s most decorated officer.
On October 6, 1990, during a family weekend an antique mall in Beaumont, Texas, Joe and Elaine Langley's life changed forever. Their 10-year-old daughter, Falyssa Van Winkle, disappeared while buying peanuts just a few yards away. Five hours later her body was found under a remote rural bridge 80 miles away, where she had been raped and strangled.
Starting with hundreds of potential witnesses and suspects who were at the mall, a team of investigators from throughout Southeast Texas quickly narrowed their focus to a 44-year-old vendor and family aquaintance named James Rexford Powell.
Seen through the eyes of a veteran sex crime detective who helped lead the search for Falyssa Van Winkle's killer, this is a chronicle of the investigation, arrest, subsequent trial, and execution of a man whose profile is all too familiar to police, and can be found much closer to home than any parent can bear to imagine.
At Powell's trial, he was convicted of capital murder in 45-minutes and sentenced to receive the death penalty in 35-minutes.
So Innocent, Yet So Dead, was originally published in hard copy December 12, 1998 (ISBN 0-9669502-0-8). Powell was finally executed on October 1, 2003. The execution was witnessed by the author, who then wrote the final chapter to the book.