Between October 1968 and June 1971, a series of sadistic murders terrorized the female population of Odessa, Texas, and surrounding towns. Today, despite conviction of a suspect, controversy still surrounds the case and several of the murders are officially unsolved. The murder spree began October 19, 1968, when an Odessa barmaid -Linda Cougat vanished from a local laundromat. Two months would pass before her violated body was discovered in a field northwest of town, hands bound behind her back with one of her own nylon stockings, the other wrapped tightly around her throat. On November 5, 1968, motel owner Dorothy Smith was found shot to death in her apartment at Monahans, Texas, her hands bound with television cable. Eula Miller was the next to die, found nude in her Odessa flat on July 16, 1970, a victim of multiple stab wounds. Nancy Miller was abducted from her home in Kermit on September 16, while her children slept peacefully in an adjoining room. Her skeletal remains would be discovered on an oil lease south of town, in June 1971. The first victim of 1971 was Ruth Maynard, wife of an Odessa policeman. Reported missing on January 9, she was found February 15, a few miles from the site where Linda Cougat was dumped by her slayer in 1968. On June 17, after Gloria Green disappeared from her secretarial job in Kermit, Texas lawmen realized they had a crisis on their hands. The case was broken in December, when Texan Johnny Meadows was jailed in Aztec, New Mexico, on unrelated charges. Meadows started telling tales of murder, and Ector County Sheriff A.M. Gambrel flew in from Texas to interrogate the suspect. Cash changed hands, $2,000 paid from Gambrel's pocket to the suspect's wife, and Meadows gave directions to a vacant lot in South Odessa, where investigators found the skeletal remains of Gloria Green beneath a rotting mattress. In 1972, Meadows pled guilty to murdering Gloria Green and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Deputies announced that he had also signed confessions in the deaths of Linda Cougat, Dorothy Smith, and Ruth Maynard. Charges were filed in the Cougat and Maynard cases, but both indictments were dismissed in the summer of 1973. Ten years later, when Meadows made his first bid for parole, ex-Sheriff Gambrell testified in opposition to the killer's release. Gambrell warned the parole board that Meadows would "kill within forty-eight hours of the time he's paroled." Meadows's application was predictably denied. (In 1984, prolific author J.R. Nash examined the Odessa case in Open Files, declaring it "unsolved." Ignoring the conviction and confessions of incarcerated slayer Johnny Meadows, Nash attributes fourteen murders to the "Texas Strangler," roping in some obviously unrelated homicides from Dallas to increase the body-count. Meadows victims Cougat and Maynardl are included in the list of women slaughtered by "the most murderous sex fiend in modern Texas history."