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Thursday Sept 12, 1985

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Paper: HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Date: THU 09/12/1985
Section: 1
Page: 24
Edition: NO STAR

Girl, 11, stabbed to death while parents run errands

Staff

MONT BELVIEU - Police are stumped over the stabbing death of a sixth-grade girl, left at home to swim with friends while her parents ran errands.

Carolyn Hahn, 11, died from four stab wounds to the neck, said Mont Belvieu Police Chief Fred Dodd.

"We believe the killing was sexually motivated," said Dodd. "Although the act was not carried out, there seems to have been an attempt made." The victim was bruised and scratched and her bathing suit partially torn off, Dodd said.

Her parents, Fred and Linda Hahn, discovered her body at 9:20 p.m. Tuesday in the hallway of their apartment on Texas 146, 30 miles east of Houston.

The sixth-grader had been left alone for three to four hours in the apartment while the father - a plumber - and his wife and 8-year-old son ran errands. The victim had asked to remain behind to swim with some of her girlfriends.

After swimming a couple of hours, Carolyn Hahn returned to the family's apartment alone about 8:15 p.m.

Her friends said they saw her approach the apartment but did not see her enter. Neighbors did not report hearing or seeing anything suspicious, Dodd said.

There was no sign of forced entry or burglary. Nothing in the apartment was in disarray, except that the telephone had been ripped from the wall, Dodd added.

Tuesday Dec 31, 1985

Investigation beefed up MONT BELVIEU - A Baytown police officer has been assigned to work with the Mont Belvieu Police Department in an attempt to solve the Sept. 10 murder of 11-year-old Carolyn Hahn.

Mont Belvieu Police Chief Fred Dodd earlier this month identified a young machinist as the chief suspect in the case, noting the man had moved to Baytown after the killing.

Baytown Police Chief Wayne Henscey Monday said he has assigned Detective Paul Schaffer to assist the Mont Belvieu officers in the case. The communities are about 10 miles apart.

"As long as the investigation looks as if it's headed in a Baytown direction, Schaffer will do what he can to help Dodd," said Henscey.

Hahn was stabbed and strangled in her family's apartment while her parents and younger brother were away on an archery outting. The sixth grader had remained home to swim in the apartment pool with friends.

Dodd theorizes Hahn was killed by a burglar who broke through the apartment's back door and stole $60 worth of items.
Mont Belvieu murder leaves a legacy of fear/Girl's slaying remains unresolved

By ALLAN TURNER
Staff

MONT BELVIEU - A blond man lurking in the shadows, a battered van double-parked in the drive, an unexpected footstep passing the window - all are troubling reminders to residents of a slightly down-at-the-heels apartment complex on the outskirts of Mont Belvieu that somewhere a child-killer is running free.

More than three months have elapsed since 11-year-old Carolyn Hahn was brutally slashed and strangled in her parents' apartment at the Mont Belvieu apartments off Texas 146.

And although residents in nearby Baytown Tuesday breathed a collective sigh of relief that an arrest has been made in the murder of 11-year-old Mary Stiles, residents here are jumpy.

Authorities had initially thought the murders might be linked. Bothirls were strangled and stabbed, their clothing was askew and their fathers worked for the same Baytown plumbing company. However, officials said Tuesday two child-killers may have been loose in the area.

"We're going to move in January," Robin Conaway said. "We aren't in a financial position to move right now, but I want to move. We've had some knock-down, drag-out fights over this."

Conaway, her fiance and her two sons, Seanne, 9, and Casey, 13, live in an apartment above the unit occupied by the Hahn family.

The Hahns, who discovered their daughter's body after returning from an archery outing, have since moved and could not be reached for comment.

"I was here the night it happened," Conaway said.

Since the Sept. 10 killing, Conaway, a bartender at a Houston tavern, has lived in fear.

"I don't think they've taken enough steps to find the killer," she said. "I think the police have been wishy-washy. I hate living here. As far as I'm concerned, there's someone crazy out there killing at will."

Conaway said she thinks she may have been trailed home by the killer just weeks after Carolyn was murdered. A young blond man followed her into the apartment complex as she returned from work about 4 a.m., she said. Leaving his auto in a remote part of the parking lot, he slinked through the shadows as she approached her dwelling.

"He was peeping around the corner," she said. "My fiance caught up with him, and he said he was just looking for a friend's apartment." Police reassured her with the unsavory thought that the man was simply an amorous bar patron out for a good time.

"The bar is 45 miles away," she said. "There's no way someone follows you that far."

Conaway is troubled, too, by the periodic appearance of a mysterious blue van at the complex. Authorities think such a vehicle might be linked to one of the child-killings.

Dianna West, who lives nearby with her husband, Tony, and their 1-year-old, Anthony, said she rarely goes outside alone, and she never opens her door to strangers. When she must leave her apartment at night, she does so only as her husband watches through a window.

Upon learning that police believe the Mont Belvieu and Baytown killings - despite some similarities - are unrelated, the face of Melinda Veillon dropped.

"I had hoped they were (related)," she said, noting that, in such a case, the Baytown arrest might have solved both cases.


Veillon, her husband, Neal, and their children Shantel, 7, Leigh Ann, 6, and Jason, 4, had lived in Mont Belvieu only a few weeks when Carolyn was killed.

They had previously lived in the tiny Louisiana community of Mamou. "We were kind of scared," she said. "We had lived in the country, but I know this kind of thing can happen anywhere."

Since the murder, she has watched her children more carefully. They rarely go out unattended. The Veillon doors are kept locked. "You never stop worrying," she said. "I know most of the people who live around me, but there are so many people moving in and out all the time."

After the Hahn killing, apartment management began installing peep-holes in front doors. "That makes us feel a little safer," Veillon said. "Now you don't have to open the door to see who's there."

Since the September murder, other things at the complex have changed as well.

Bob Bailey, a private security guard and complex resident, has begun regular patrols. "I did this before on an informal basis," he said as he made his rounds Tuesday. "But now it's official."

Bailey has lived at Mont Belvieu Apartments approximately 18 months.

"Of course I'm concerned about this," he said. "I have a 10-year-old girl of my own."


Bailey said apartment residents have regularly brought observationsbout the case to his attention. "I know they've told the police, too."

Although the Mont Belvieu killer apparently remains free, Police Chief Fred Dodd said he thinks his department's investigation is progressing well.

"We haven't hit any snags," Dodd said. "I am satisfied with our progress. It's important that you realize that in any murder, be it of a child or an adult, that solving it takes time. We've had to go back and start at the crime scene. We didn't have a man standing there with a gun."

Dodd, 37, began his 15 years in law enforcement as a Houston police officer. Before becoming chief of Mont Belvieu's five-officer department last July, he had been chief deputy of the Chambers County Sheriff's Department.

He said his department's investigation of the Hahn case - he personally handles the lion's share of the work - has not damaged its reputation.

"I don't know how much overtime has been put in on this case, but it's been a lot," he said. The wall of Dodd's office is decorated with a diagram of the Mont Belvieu Apartments layout. A notice on the department's bulletin board advises officers to be alert for a man spotted following a school bus.

When caught at work Tuesday afternoon, Dodd was at his desk scrutinizing a set of fingerprints with a magnifying glass.

His conversation at one point was interrupted by a telephone call from Baytown police offering details of the recent arrest. "I knew you wouldn't be busy," Dodd joked. "What type of vehicle had he (the suspect) been driving?"

"I don't think the lack of an arrest in this case has demeaned or muddled the image of my department at all," he said. "We've used the media a lot to let the people know that we're still working on this case."

Solving the Hahn murder - the first murder in Mont Belvieu in about five years and perhaps the first murder of a child in the community's history - is the department's top goal. "It's our first priority, and it will continue to be until we solve it," Dodd vowed.

Elsewhere on Main Street, the Baytown arrest and the continuing Mont Belvieu investigation were the talk of the town.

"It's got to be hard on both - the parents of the little girl and the parents of the killer," said Edna Soileau, a clerk at the Mont Belvieu Western Auto store. "No matter how you raise your children, you can never tell what will happen."

A customer of the store offered in counterpoint: "I don't know the people involved in any of this. But when they catch the guy who did it, they ought to hang him without a trial."

Wednesday Dec 18, 1985

MONT BELVIEU - Mont Belvieu police today continued to watch the activities of a man they suspect killed 11-year-old Carolyn Hahn.

"We're more or less waiting for him to make a mistake," Mont Belvieu Police Chief Fred Dodd said.

Although authorities apparently are certain the 21-year-old Baytown machinist is the killer, they have been unable to amass sufficient evidence for an arrest.

Spurred by the arrest in Baytown of a suspect in the Halloween murder of 11-year-old Mary Stiles, Dodd Wednesday made the most detailed statement to date concerning the Sept. 10 killing of Carolyn Hahn, also 11.

Dodd, 37, who became chief of this town's five-man department only two months when Carolyn was stabbed and strangled, said the Baytown and Mont Belvieu killings are not related.

Authorities had initially thought the murders - occurring just seven weeks apart - may have been committed by the same person.

Dodd said the prime suspect in Carolyn's murder has a criminal record of burglary and other offenses.

He and the Hahn family lived in the Mont Belvieu Apartments off Texas 146 at the time of the murder. The man has since moved to Baytown, where he lives with a girlfriend, Dodd said.

In the scenario drawn by Dodd, the man entered the Hahns' apartment after nightfall on Sept. 10 intent on burglary. He entered the apartment, a downstairs unit facing the swimming pool, by prying open the rear door.

Carolyn may have surprised the man, Dodd said. And, since she may have recognized him - the apartment complex is relatively small - the man killed her to eliminate the witness.

About $60 worth of items were removed from the apartment. Burglary is a felony offense, and if the police theory is correct, the suspect could face execution should he be convicted in the case.

Originally, police thought Carolyn may have been sexually assaulted. An autopsy report, however, revealed no evidence of rape.

Dodd Wednesday for the first time hinted that the killer may have had an accomplice. He did not say, however, if police suspect that person's identity.

Dodd said the suspect is the man depicted in a composite drawing released by his department several weeks ago.

The man is a small-boned, brown-haired man standing 5-feet 8-inches tall and weighing about 145 pounds.

Additionally, the chief said, the suspect closely fits a psychological profile developed by the FBI.

He is a 10th-grade dropout.

Psychologists said the killer likely would have been of middle-class origin, having grown up in a family with a domineering mother. He would likely be a dropout of below average intelligence and pathologically shy.

The killer is likely sorry for his deed and may be obsessed with the case.

While the suspect may deviate from the profile in some particulars, one thing is clear: The man police want to arrest knows he's a suspect.

Dodd Wednesday said the man has taken three lie-detector tests, each with inconclusive results.

Police believe they have found the murder weapon, a serrated-bladed kitchen knife with microscopic blood stains on it.

Until this week, authorities were leery of completely ruling out a link between the Stiles and Hahn murders.

There were "obvious similarities," Dodd said.

Both victims were sixth-graders, killed in apartment complexes 10 miles apart. Their fathers both work as air- conditioner repairmen at the same Baytown plumbing company.

Both girls were shy, good students. They both died from strangulation with four stab wounds to the throat, although Stiles was also choked by a sock shoved down her throat.

Dodd noted, however, Hahn's killer has not written letters like those to police in the Stiles case.

A series of letters to the Baytown Police Department led to the arrest Monday of 16-year-old Joseph Fordham, who today was scheduled to have a hearing where a judge would decide whether to detain him. Fordham is a sophomore at Sterling High School in Baytown.

Dodd asks anyone with information about the Hahn killing to contact him at 713-576-2417.

More
The final autopsy report closely parallels that of 11-year-old Carolyn Hahn, who was murdered Sept. 10 in Mont Belvieu. Police remain unsure if the two cases are linked.

Hahn had stayed home to swim while her family went on an archery outing. The family returned and found her body in the hallway of Mont Belvieu Apartments.

Stiles vanished from the porch of her family's Baytown apartment complex while dressed in her "Care Bear" trick-or-treat costume.

Both girls received four stab wounds to the throat and were strangled. Neither showed any sign of being raped, although some of their clothing was disarranged. The top to Hahn's red bikini was pushed over and exposed one breast.

While Hahn's written report indicated she had many cuts and bruises, fewer were reported in the Stiles' case due to the badly decomposed state of the body.

Both also had defensive cuts on the hand.

More Articles On the Case

Resting Place

Remembering Carolyn Hahn