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Moonlight Phantom Stalked Young Lovers in Texas — And the Serial Killer's Never Been Identified (FPD CASE VAULT)

Moonlight Phantom Stalked Young Lovers in Texas
Source: AMI Specials

Law enforcement officials search for clues on a road near Texarkana, Texas, but the Moonlight Phantom murders were never solved.

Oct. 22 2023, Published 2:17 p.m. ET

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Back in 1946, the sleepy Texas town of Texarkana was a safe place to walk at night.

But all that changed when a serial killer began murdering couples in secluded areas late at night.

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The bullet-riddled bodies of Richard L. Griffin, 29, and Polly Ann Moore, 17, were found in Griffin’s car on March 24. Three weeks later, Betty Jo Booker, 15, and Paul Martin, 16, were shot to death.

Both Betty Jo and Polly Ann had also been sexually molested. The headline in a local newspaper blared: “SEX MANIAC HUNTED IN MURDERS.”

After farmer Virgil Starks, 37, was shot and killed in his home on May 3, legendary Texas Ranger M. T. “Lone Wolf” Gonzaullas offered terrified Texarkana residents this advice: “Check the locks and bolts of your doors and get a double-barreled shotgun to blow away any intruder who tries to get in."

The Texas Rangers, the FBI and the Arkansas State Police joined up to search for the killer, by then dubbed the “Moonlight Phantom.”

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But no one was ever charged with the murders.

Today, almost 80 years later, the Moonlight Phantom’s identity still remains a mystery.


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