TRUE DETECTIVEListen Now
For years David Elliot Penton stalked elementary schools and playgrounds looking for young girls from low-income neighborhoods to abduct, rape and murder. He thought of them as "throwaway kids"-hardly missed, and soon forgotten, except by those who loved them. He was every parent's worst nightmare. The bogeyman they warned their children about ... the fiend who lurked outside bedroom windows.
Christi Meeks disappeared during a game of hide-and-seek outside her mother's Mesquite apartment complex in January 1985 and was found dead less than three months later in Lake Texoma.
Christie Proctor's body was found in a south Plano field in April 1988, more than two years after the fourth-grader was last seen walking from her North Dallas apartment to a friend's house. And Roxann Reyes was snatched from an alley while playing outside her Garland apartment in November 1987.
This story focuses on the work of a team of police detectives, starting with Garland Police Detective Gary Sweet, who picked up the cases of the three missing girls after they'd gone cold.
In 1996, years after the murders, he found the girls' files and information on suspect David Elliot Penton. "For some reason, out of all the stuff that was in those two boxes, I pulled out a file and started reading about him," Sweet said.
Penton was in jail in Ohio for killing 9-year-old Nydra Ross. What followed was a series of fateful twists — from reviewing old tips, to conducting new interviews and gathering information shared by Penton's cellmates. By 2003, Sweet and the team had enough to indict Penton. TRUE DETECTIVE: From The Detective's Perspective-Gary Sweet