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Murder in West Memphis: The Man in the White Tank Top - Part 4

At 1:45pm on May 6, 1993 while searching for Stevie Branch, Chris Byers and Michael Moore's parole officer Steve Jones made a grim discovery: He found a black tennis shoe where the woods bordered the Blue Beacon car wash.

Shortly after, in a nearby ditch, Sergeant Mike Allen then discovered the naked body of a boy, his hands tied together with shoelaces. As he continued to follow the course of the ditch, the bound bodies of two more boys were found.

Clothing belonging to the boys was found scattered around the creek -- some items had been pushed into the mud with sticks and a pair of pants was found inside out.

One of the boys, later identified as Chris Byers, was found covered in lacerations and it was discovered that the skin from his penis and scrotum had been removed.

The Medical Examiner denoted in the autopsies that Chris Byers had died from knife wounds and Stevie Branch and Michael Moore had died from drowning.

Luminol tests revealed there was enough blood on the ground to indicate that the boys were most likely killed where their bodies were found. Furthermore, a lack of tracks or drag marks also indicates the boys had been attacked and killed in the woods.

It’s also important to note that the fact there were three victims, and they were tied up with three different types of knots, seems to point multiple killers.

Although the boys were only 8-years-old, it difficult to see how one man could have subdued and murdered the three boys without at least one of them escaping and calling for help.

And remember, according to John Douglas-- a retired FBI profiler--, he believes the attack on the boys was enacted by a perpetrator that wanted to teach the boys a lesson. Douglas believes the crimes against the young boys were meant to dominate, control, humiliate and punish.

Now, let’s look closer at even more evidence that seems to point to Terry Hobbs, the step-father of Stevie Branch, as the murderer: DNA evidence found at the crime scene. More specifically, DNA in a hair found in one of the shoelaces used to tie up the boys.

Are you ready for this? The DNA matched that of…. you guessed it: Terry Hobbs.

In addition, a second hair found on a tree stump near where the bodies were found matched that of David Jacoby, a friend of Terry Hobbs – the same friend that has repeatedly lied and given conflicting testimony regarding the night the three little boys disappeared.

To make matters worse, Terry Hobbs had a long, documented history of abuse, including an admitted assault on his wife and accusations of child beating and assaults on neighbors.

In fact, Judy Sadler, Stevie’s Aunt, has gone as far as to accuse Terry Hobbs (on record) of forcing Stevie to watch him masturbate and of sexually abusing Stevie’s sister, Amanda. (Yet another motive for murder!)

Jo Lynn McAughey, another of Stevie’s aunts, alleges she saw Terry Hobbs doing laundry the night of the murders. Was Terry Hobbs destroying evidence as he worked to clean the mud off of his clothing after killing the boys in the woods?

There is substantial evidence (from both the autopsy and the statements given by Bennie Guy) that suggests that Michael Moore (as described in an earlier installment of this series) was violently attacked first and was unconscious while the other boys were attacked.

If he was unconscious, it makes sense that the remainder of the violence was focused solely on Chris and Stevie and this would answer the question as to why two of the boys were tortured and one boy was not.

I believe that after the boys were attacked and stripped of their clothes, they were tied up. The manner in which the boys were tied also tells us about both the crime and the perpetrator(s).

The act of tying up three unconscious boys who were near death was clearly an unnecessary act. In fact, according to the analysis by John Douglas, the tying up of the boys was another attempt from the perpetrator to humiliate and dominate the boys.

It makes perfect sense to me that Terry Hobbs wanted to humiliate the boys in the same exact what that he felt humiliated when the boys caught him involved in sex acts with other men. I believe he wanted to punish the boys because they had been spying on him.

It gets worse for Terry Hobbs.

Even the way the boys were tied up points to Terry Hobbs. Hobbs grew up working for his dad as a butcher. His job, believe it or not, was to tie up cattle and hogs, transport them, and butcher them.

The boys were tied up wrist to ankle instead of wrist to wrist and ankle to ankle.

According to John Douglas, he has researched murders all over the world and could not identify any other murders that used this method of tying up their victims.

How is this damning for Terry Hobbs? It’s simple. Farmers and hunters use a method of tying up animals that is called hobbling. The point of hobbling is to quickly control the animal as well as make the transportation of the animal much easier.

The boys were tied up in this exact method.

Additionally, Michael Moore was tied with a square knot. A square knot is often used by farmers to subdue hogs. The idea is the more that the hog struggles, the tighter the knot becomes. I believe the boys were tied up after the were unconscious which means the use of this knot was done out of habit not out of necessity.

Who would use a square knot out of habit? Perhaps someone who grew up working in a job that required them to tie up hogs or cattle?

It seems that the more I research this crime, the more the evidence points to Terry Hobbs.

Believe it or not, as if this isn’t enough to sway anyone beyond any reasonable doubt, there is more.

That’s right. There is more evidence that points to Terry Hobbs as the murderer of Stevie Branch, Michael Moore and Chris Byers.

To be continued...

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