Houston, TX

Texas Rangers offering cash rewards for help solving these three 1980s Cold Case homicides

Michele Freeman

Texas Rangers need your help with three 1980s cold case homicides that occurred in Houston, Corpus Christi, and Lubbock, Texas. Anyone who provides credible information that leads to the arrest of the killers can receive up to $3,000. To be eligible for the cash rewards, tipsters must call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). All tips are anonymous, and tipsters will be provided a tip number to use as an identifier (instead of the tipster's name).

Mother and son found murdered in Houston, Texas on Christmas Day 1980

In Houston, Texas, Estella (31) and her son Andrew (14) Salinas were driving from their house to the home of Estella's parents on Christmas Day. They never made it. Instead, they were somehow lured from their vehicle and murdered. According to their death certificates, Estella died from "asphyxia due to ligature strangulation" and Andrew's death was caused by "asphyxia due to chest compression and manual strangulation."

Their bodies were discovered on the east side concrete bank of White Oak Bayou (close to the Pinemont Bridge and near the 4500 Block of Creekmont Drive).

Estella & Andrew Salinas were on the way to spend Christmas with family. How did they end up strangled on the east side of White Oak Bayou?Photo byTexas Department of Public Safety

Estella's ring and purse were missing. The victim's blue 1972 Mercury Cougar was found near a fast food restaurant at the intersection of Cavalcade and Eastex Freeway. The car keys, personal items, and unwrapped gifts were still inside the car.


13-year-old Helen Kilgore found beaten and shot more than 300 miles from her Corpus Christi, Texas home in 1984

On April 13, 1984, Helen Marie Kilgore, age thirteen, was reported missing by her father, James Kilgore. Helen lived with her parents and three sisters in Corpus Christi, Texas, and she attended Tom Browne Junior High School.

School photo of murder victim Helen Marie Kilgore, who was found beaten and shot on April 22, 1984.Photo byTexas Department of Public Safety

Helen had run away from home the previous month, and been found in San Antonio, Texas. She was returned to her home in Corpus Christi. Two weeks later, Helen went missing again. According to an article published in the April 24, 1984 edition of the Corpus Christi Times, Helen had called her parents on April 15th and told them she was in Belton, a town less than 50 miles from Waco, Texas.

Seven days later, on April 22, 1984, Helen was found inside a quilted blanket--similar to the type used for moving. According to an April 27, 2017 3News update on the case: "Just outside the city of Meridian, Texas ... something caught the attention of Durwood Koonsman. 'I turned around and went back by it, and I seen feet sticking out,' Koonsman said."

Helen Kilgore's fully clothed body was wrapped in the moving blanket. She had been beaten and then shot in the head with a .38 caliber gun.

Memorial for 13-year-old Helen Marie Gilgore where her body was found on April 22, 1984.Photo byKelly Kilgore / Facebook Memorial Page for Helen Kilgore


13-year-old Veronica Taylor brutally murdered, found near FM 1729 in eastern Lubbock County, Texas in 1987

On March 26, 1987, 13-year-old Veronica Ann Taylor's body was found in a snowy field near the FM 1729 road in Lubbock County, Texas. The middle-schooler had been raped, beaten, and strangled. She died from blunt force trauma to her head.

Her aunt Celestine Taylor was the last family member to see Veronica alive. Veronica left her aunt's home to walk about 100 yards to another relative's house. But the girl never arrived. According to an article written by Laura Laughead on EverythingLubbock.com: "People just take heed, and watch your babies. You’re not expecting any of this, and Lord knows we weren’t. Because otherwise I would have went out that back door with her,” Celestine said.

The next morning, Veronica's body was found in that snow-covered field near FM 1729. Her underclothes were around her neck and her pants pulled down.

13-year-old Veronica Taylor was raped, beaten, and strangled to death. She was found in snowy field off of FM 1720 in Lubbock County, TexasPhoto byTexas Department of Public Safety

Veronica's belongings found at the crime scene, including a backpack and coat, were contaminated by ungloved investigators digging through the items. Nine months after Veronica's brutal death, on November 6, 1987, DNA evidence was used for the first time in the United States to convict serial rapist Tommy Lee Andrews.

But how could DNA help Veronica if law enforcement couldn't be bothered to adhere to evidence-gathering protocols? Even in the 1980s, law enforcement wore gloves to protect evidence and prevent cross-contamination.

Veronica liked attending school and singing in the church choir. She was buried in the City of Lubbock Cemetery.

Headstone for 13-year-old murder victim Veronica Ann Taylor.Photo byFindAGrave.com


If you can provide credible information that leads to the arrest of the killers in the cases of Estella and Andrew Salinas, Helen Marie Kilgore, and Veronica Ann Taylor, you may receive up to $3,000. It's never too late to help police close these cold cases. Call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). Tips are anonymous, and you will be provided a number to use as an identifier.

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I live in Dallas County, Texas. I write about unidentified victims, missing persons, cold cases, forensics, and victim assistance information in Texas. For more true crime cases in the United States, visit armchairdetectives.org.

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