Updated: Nov 16
Just after midnight on May 10, 1996, a motorist in Brown County, Texas called 911. They report that they’d been driving along Farm Road 2126 when they saw a burning car. It was parked just off the road, near the entrance to a gun range.
Minutes later, a second motorist called 911 to report they had spotted a body lying near the burning car.
When the fire department and Sheriff’s deputies show up, the car is engulfed in flames. While inspecting the scene, they find the body of 30-year-old Leon Laureles. He had been shot in the back of the head, execution style.
Leon’s family believes they know what happened to Leon, but their suspicions have never been confirmed.
Anyone with information regarding Leon’s death or events leading up to it can contact the Brown County Sheriff’s Office at 325-646-5510.
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In addition to research provided to us by The Fall Line Podcast, these are the resources used for this episode:
Burch, Jamie. “Police Looking for New Leads in Brown County Cold Case Murder.” KTXS, 17 Feb. 2020, https://ktxs.com/news/local/police-looking-for-new-leads-in-brown-county-cold-case-murder.
Emison, Celinda. “Area Texas Ranger Hangs up His Badge.” Abilene Reporter-News, 4 Sept. 2003. Genealogybank.com.
Facebook, Central Texas Crime, https://www.facebook.com/centraltexascrime/posts/1381425355567890.
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hate Crime Statistics 1996.
Hauck, Grace. “Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes Are Rising, the FBI Says. but It Gets Worse.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 10 Feb. 2022, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/06/28/anti-gay-hate-crimes-rise-fbi-says-and-they-likely-undercount/1582614001/.
Looby, Jim. “Murdered Man Found near Vehicle in Flames.” Abilene Reporter-News, 11 May 1996. Genealogybank.com.
“The Murder of Juan Leon Laureles.” The Fall Line, season 12, episode 1, 20 Jan. 2021.
Pressley, Sue Ann. “Gays Fear Texas Slaying Reflects Trend; Anti-Homosexual Violence Has Risen Sharply, Advocacy Groups Say.” The Washington Post, 31 Jan. 1996. Performative.com.
Ramirez, Margaret. “Anti-Gay Crimes Are Up 6%.” Newsday, 12 Mar. 1997. Newspapers.com.
S-T Correspondent. “Brown Co. Officials Investigate Death.” San Angelo Standard-Times, 11 May 1996. Newspapers.com.
Tuller, David. “In The Minds of Murderers.” The San Francisco Examiner, 6 Apr. 1997. Newspapers.com.
Walsh, James. “Gays Victimized in Crimes of Hate Often Kept Silent.” Star Tribune, 12 Jan. 1997. Newspapers.com.
Weiser, Carl. “More Bills on Gay Issues Expected This Year.” Pensacola News Journal, 16 Feb. 1997. Newspapers.com.
Werner, Jennifer. “Coming Out A Luxury Many Lesbians, Gays Can't Afford.” Logansport Pharos-Tribune, 4 May 1997. Newspapers.com.