Investigators say Clyde Hendrick, 59, was always a suspect. He was even charged with burying her body at the time, but the murder charge against him now is the result of new forensic evidence that finally revealed the victim's cause of death.
Hendrick was the last person police say to see a young woman named Elena Rae Beasom alive. She was reported missing in July 1984, after last being seen at the Texas Moon Club in League City by a friend who noticed her car was still parked there the following day.
Now 29 years after, her body was found buried off a Galveston County Road, Hendrick was arrested for her murder. He was taken into custody on Thursday at his home in San Leon.
To say neighbors are surprised is an understatement.
"Good Lord, I wouldn't have ever have pictured it," neighbor Kathy Dieterich said.
A new forensic exam of Beasom's remains revealed she was beaten to death. Investigators say Hendrick admitted to meeting her in a bar, taking her for a swim in a League City pond. That new information took Galveston County detectives, League City police and the FBI back to the original suspect.
"That led us back to Mr. Hendrick," said Capt. Barry Cook with the Galveston County Sheriff's Office.
It brings up other cold cases in the area, the so-called Killing Field Murders off Calder Road and the Gulf Freeway from the 80's and early 90's. Four women were killed and left in the same area over time.
Beasom's death is not considered to be part of that, but the detective says...
"I have been told he is a person of interest, but I don't know any of the real details of the Killing Fields," he said.
Hendrick remains in the Galveston County Jail. His bond set at $150,000. His neighbors are still trying to digest the news.
"I'm too stunned to even respond except to even response, except say I can't believe it," Dieterich said.
The founder of Texas Equusearch, Tim Miller, is the father of one of the Killing Fields victims. He told Eyewitness News he's aware of Hendrick's arrest but could not make comment right now.