A Texas man commits murder, then flees the United States.

Edward Harold Bell

The victim, Larry Dickens

CASE DETAILS

Bell exposed himself to children

Bryan, Texas, is the type of place that people have in mind when they dream of escaping the big city.  But in September of 1984, the illusion of small-town security was shattered for one local couple whom we will call Sue and Bill.  Sue had always considered herself strong and self-reliant.  However, the events of September 6th would test her character in ways she never imagined:

“My husband was leaving for work and I went back into the bathroom in the master bedroom to finish getting dressed. I was standing there, looking in the mirror, finishing up my hair, and I picked up the make-up mirror.  And I looked and he had a large hunting knife.”

Fearing for the safety of her child, Sue instinctively attacked.  She forced the intruder from the bathroom and then drove him out of the house at gunpoint:

“It was very quick. And I don’t think he was expecting me to do that.  I think he probably was expecting me to plead with him not to do anything, and I reversed the situation on him.”

Bell was finally captured in Panama

Sue had seen the man up close, but authorities were unable to identify him.  She and her husband tried to put the incident behind them.  Then four months later, Sue got another look at the attacker:

“I was going through the newspaper and I opened it up, and his picture was in the newspaper.  And I was just shocked to have found out what he had done.”

The newspaper listed the state’s most-wanted criminals. Right at the top was the knife-wielding intruder. His name was Edward Harold Bell.  Edward Bell’s long criminal record stretched back to 1969 and included aggravated rape and numerous counts of indecent exposure to children.  Sue also learned that Edward Bell was wanted for a shocking murder that took place on August 24, 1978.  That summer, 26-year-old Larry Dickens was visiting his mother and sister in Pasadena, Texas, a suburb of Houston.  An ex-marine and youth counselor, Larry was also the father of a three-year-old girl. According to his mother, Dorothy Lang, Larry was cutting her lawn when Edward Bell pulled up in his pick-up truck:

“I was standing at the kitchen window.  And there were a lot of children playing in the intersection right by our house. I saw this pick-up truck drive up.  He parked, and he got out of his truck, and he was nude from his waist down.”

Bell was sentenced to seventy years in prison

As Dorothy phoned the police, Larry went out to confront the flasher. His mother watched from the kitchen window as the man pulled out a gun:

“And I said, ‘Please don’t shoot him.’  And the man just shot him, anyway. And then he turned and started running out of our garage. And Larry, even with all those bullets in him, was still trying to stop this man.”

Larry had been shot four times in the chest and once in the head with a .22 pistol. At just that moment, Larry’s 17-year-old sister, Dawna, was returning home from cheerleading practice:

“I pulled up to the stop sign and I saw a man cross the street to the edge of my driveway. And I looked and I got a good close look at the man. And I tried to block his exit.  I realized he had just shot my brother.  I just started screaming. And I just screamed and screamed, and then, when I couldn’t scream anymore, I remember I just went over and I knelt down beside my brother and I watched him die.”

A dispatcher radioed the suspect’s description as police units headed to the scene. At that very instant, the officers recognized the suspect’s truck. Within 20 minutes of the murder, Bell was in the hands of police and on his way to face Larry’s mother and sister:

“They opened the back door of the police car so that I could see him there.  I just wanted to get my hands on him.  It hurts me so bad that he killed my brother. There’s always going to be an emptiness.  Part of me is missing.”

Incredibly, Edward Bell was released on bail less than two months after the murder. He quietly liquidated his assets, and with more than $140,000 in his pocket, disappeared.

Update:

When this story aired, at least two viewers recognized Edward Bell.  One said he had recently met Bell during a business trip to Panama City, Panama.  Another viewer claimed that Bell had lived in Panama for several years.  According to Special Agent Rolando Moss of the Houston FBI, Bell was prospecting for gold on land he owned near Panama City:

“The Panama police were able to locate Mr. Bell, at which time, they placed him under arrest, and the FBI, along with the Panama City Police Department then brought Mr. Bell back to the United States.”

Edward Harold Bell was convicted of murder and sentenced to 70 years in prison.  He has since been named as a “person of interest” in the murders of six young girls in the Galveston area.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season five with Robert Stack and in season one with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

 

38 Comments

  1. Cat

    Edward Harold Bell is a serial killer, he may escape justice on earth but he still has to answer to the big man up stairs. I hope he feels the all the pain and fear of his victims and their families when the time comes.

    Reply

  2. LINDA

    I’M WATCHING THE SHOW… THE ELEVEN. I’M PRAYING THIS MONSTER NEVER GETS RELEASED… IF HE IS.. HE’LL MURDER AND RAPE AGAIN. I FEEL HE KNEW TO MUCH ABOUT THOSE MURDERS OF THOSE YOUNG GIRLS… AND IT’S WEIRD HOW THE MURDERS STOPPED WHEN HE SKIPPED BAIL AND HID. IT WOULD BE A INJUSTICE TO PUT THAT MAN BACK INTO SOCIETY AROUND YOUNG GIRLS. LEAVE HIM WHERE HE IS… SO CHILDREN ARE SAFE. PLEASE ..PLEASE.. I PRAY HIS PAROLE IS DENIED.

    Reply

  3. CHUCK

    The Justice system today has no real Justice! A “so called” Judge that released him on bail that allowed him to flee should of been bared from ever being a Judge over criminal cases. Bell should of received at least life without the possibility of parole if not the death sentence if the state had it in place. This is shocking to think that a system so one sided for the criminals instead of the victims this monster “might” get out to continue his exposing himself to young girls and murdering those he can with illegal guns he can get hold of.

    Reply

    • Anonymous

      I’m sorry Chuck, but I’d like to know where you gain knowledge about the criminal justice system… You clearly do not understand how it works. Only one in ten felony defendants are denied bail. Whether or not you agree with a majority of felony defendants being able to post bail, is something different. However, how could you say how horrible this judge is for not denying him bail???? Because the defendant in his case just happened to flee the country??? Because this case just happened to be publicized??? And you say this system is so one sided for criminals, yet about 25% of our population is in prison. Now I believe in justice and I loved the documentary because you could feel the passion from the retired detective and reporter to get exactly that. Edward Bell is most definitely sick, yet it is also sick how quick people are to shift blame anywhere they please. The only person responsible for Edward’s actions is himself. The rest of us can only do the best we can to stop and prevent the horrific and immoral things people do to others. I love to use this analogy when people seem to be quick to criticize those involved in law enforcement. Immagine an accountant or a dentist or an electrician constantly only being able to preform half of their job. That is how those of law enforcement feel every day as our system is flawed because no one can tell the future and no one can impose absolute control over society to prevent these things 100% of the time!!! The worst part is, they’re just people and they have to live with that every day.

      Reply

  4. Unknown

    Some children are born deformed physically and believe some born sick mentally…..cannot be corrected. Cant live in open society ….just too twisted.

    Reply

  5. Anonymous

    Really, should this man be free? He exposed himself to kids and killed a man who tried to stop him. No, he executed that man. He should never go free! He is a danger to society and should be locked up forever. Jonathan here may be a criminal or a pervert himself to say these things! I can’t believe this!

    Reply

  6. Anonymous

    Yeah, let him free so I can put 4 in his chest and 1 in his head.

    Reply

  7. unsolved freak

    Like this was his first murder… just probably had the luck of not getting caught.if the first lady in the interview hadn’t gone off she would have been raped and murdered

    Reply

  8. Jonathan wagers

    Larry dickens murder is sad he was young very well mannered and like helping his mother with her lawn when he came to visit her august 24th 1978 was when he was murdered he didn’t deserve what happened to him I hope edward bell suffers forever

    Reply

  9. SHARON

    THAT MAN IS A DOWN RIGHT DEVIL WHO KILLED ANOTHER HUMAN BEING I THINK HE OUGHT TO ROT IN HELL

    Reply

  10. Jojo West

    @Jonathan Please explain why you think that monster should ever be released. You think 20yrs serving is sufficient for all the pain he’s caused Larrys family. His daughter will serve a lifetime sentence of pain and suffering, never knowing her father, the loss and emptiness his family will have until the day they die. Taking an innocent mans life and Larry not having the chance to live or even the choice. No, no prison term will ever be sufficient enough for what that sick man has caused and although death in this case would be justifiable, I’m just glad that monster is in a cage where “it” belongs! He’s no human!!! Either you’re one as well or you’re related to this disgusting thing, otherwise, I’m dumbstruck and bewildered by your sick sympathy!!

    Reply

  11. Lisa Ortiz

    I know my father had something to do with the murders of the girls in 1970’s. I need someone to help me. I can and will start blowing these cases up again. I need all the help I can get…volunteers to do checks and research please contact me at Rayg1049@sbcglobal.net

    Reply

    • Debbie Horvei

      This may sound crazy however have you considered contaçting Kelly siegler from cold justic shes from texas and does this type of police work

      Reply

  12. Jeff

    Jonathan you want that monster free??? Maybe you are a murder/rapist like him…

    Reply

  13. Jonathan

    Let Edward bell free already

    Reply

  14. Jonathan

    Look at all the trouble that has happened. I feel that Larry Dickens should’ve just minded his dam business, u can’t go around being a hero in this day and age and expect any good deed to go unpunished. I admire his bravery though. Once a gun was brandished that should’ve been the cue to back the hell off. And as far as Edward Bell, 20 years IS a lifetime. And especially in Texas, prison is no joke. I think he should be released to live whatever life he’s got left in peace.

    Reply

    • Brooke

      “In this day and age”? Larry Dickens was murdered in 1978, not 2015. It is a shame that this man lost his life, but the most disgusting part is that after rape convictions and exposing himself to children that this man was free in 1978. If that wasn’t enough of a slap in the face, a judge lacking the sense God gave a goat allowed this nasty pervert out on bail! That’s the travesty here. This monster had 15 years of freedom while Larry Dickens’s family had 15 years of hell. It’s hard to imagine such slack justice in Texas considering their use of capital punishment. How this man escaped the death penalty in Texas and got 70 years w/ chance for parole in 20 years is beyond my comprehension.

      Reply

    • Shalee

      Why should he ever get to have any peace in his life when Larry’s family will never have peace? They will have to mourn their loss for the rest of their lives. Larry gave his life to save others from suffering a similar fate at the hands of this monster. This man is pure evil and he should rot in prison, and then in hell. My prayers are with Larry’s family, God bless you all!!

      Reply

    • Amanda

      You are an IDIOT! God forbid you ever need help in this life… I pray God spares your hateful soul. Do the world a favor and keep your moronic comments to yourself and stay off of the internet, you make humans look dumb.

      Reply

    • Reply

      Edward Bell needs NEVER to walk among us again. Let him have peace at the end of each day knowing he is safe from his own demons. They can’t make him hurt anyone who is not there.

      Reply

  15. ontonfela

    Hello. And Bye.

    Reply

  16. It is time for a change

    No one who is accused murder should get bail ………….

    Reply

  17. Alex

    This guy better never be free again, it was disgraceful he was ever given bail.

    Reply

  18. Fred Paige

    Larry Dickens was a hero. He stopped Bell from committing many more murders in Texas.

    Reply

  19. Anonymous

    This man should never be released! He is where he belongs and Wendy you are a very strong person! Edward bell will pay for his crimes and should not be released thank you unsolved mysteries for solving this case and giving people their life back. Thank you for all cases solved your show and services has helped countless people and will continue to do so!

    Reply

  20. Wendy Dickens

    I was that three year old daughter of Larry Dickens. I’m so thankful for unsolved mysteries for finding my daddy’s murderer. Edward stole a piece of my life. He forever changed my future. I pray he never is released. He ruined lives of many many people.

    Reply

    • Dan

      I know it has been 37 years. But I’m very sorry on what you have been through. Idiots like Edward Bell really break my back!! I hope Edward rots in prison!!

      Reply

    • Jeff

      Wendy my thoughts and prayers are always with you….my sister and my two young nephews were taken from my family by her selfish boyfriend

      Reply

    • sorry

      Sorry for your loss of not having a daddy around because of this sick man who should have been given the chair. Stay strong and i hope you are doing well.

      Reply

    • Judy Potts

      I know it’s been a few years since your comment so I hope you see this and I don’t take away from you losing your daddy it’s not right that you had to grow up without a father because of a monster but I can’t imagine what your grandma and aunt had to go through. I feel just horrible for all of you

      Reply

  21. Lissa

    Please tell me this man was denied parole!

    Reply

  22. grahamclayton

    An newspaper report in which Bell confesses to multiple crimes and blames his father for “brainwashing” him:

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Confessions-of-a-cold-blooded-killer-2187501.php

    Reply