Carmen Melinda Croan (Jan 16, 1963 – Aug 23, 1981)

Carmen Croan

Carmen Croan

Carmen Melinda Croan (Jan 16, 1963 – Aug 23, 1981) was murdered when she was just 18 years old. She doesn’t have a good web presence. The only information on the Odessa Crime Stoppers page is as follows:

It has been over 20 years since the brutal slaying of Carmen Croan. Her body was found on August 23, 1981 on an oilfield lease 12 mile north of FM 1936 and Hwy 158. Her throat had been cut. She was only 18 years old. Investigators have determined that she may have last been seen in the early morning hours of August 23rd at a nightclub on 8th street.”

That is it.

Aside from this brief blurb we see a picture of Carmen’s lovely face smiling at the camera.

PDF Toole-LucasA web search took me to this PDF document where Carmen’s murder is described as

throat slashed; sexual mutilation, Toole considered a suspect.”

Toole refers to Ottis Elwood Toole. You can read about him on  Murderpedia and on Wikipedia.

Toole (March 5, 1947 – September 15, 1996) was an American drifter convicted of six counts of murder. He admitted to four more murders however, he recanted while incarcerated. He may have been responsible for the murder of Adam Walsh in 1981. Toole received two death sentences but on appeal they were commuted to life in prison. He died in prison from cirrhosis.

In 1976, Toole met Henry Lee Lucas and they started a sexual relationship. Toole later claimed that he had accompanied Lucas on 108 murders sometimes at the behest of a cult he called “The Hands of Death”.

In June 1983, Henry Lee Lucas was arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm. He boasted about the murderous rampages with Toole. At first, Toole denied any involvement but later backed up Lucas’ confessions. Lucas later recanted saying he made those statements only to improve his living conditions in jail.

Lucas was sentenced to death for the murder of an unidentified woman in Texas. In 1998, Governor George W. Bush commuted his death sentence to life in prison. It became the first successful commutation of a death sentence in Texas since they reinstated the death penalty in 1982. Lucas died in prison of natural causes.

Credits: LaDonna Greer Collett,

Credits: LaDonna Greer Collett,

There is a lot of speculation whether Toole is responsible for Carmen’s murder. I do not wish to repeat that here as this post should be about Carmen.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any other articles about her case to write a more extended post. So I end with this link where Carmen’s former classmates left memories .

Rest in Peace, Carmen Melinda Croan.


In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight an old cold case. These posts are never an in-depth analysis and of course, more information could be found online and in newspaper archives. The goal of these posts is to get the case back in the spotlights, to get people talking about it again, and if anything to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are cold does not mean that we can forget about them.

If you have any memories about Carmen Melinda Croan or thoughts about this case I encourage you to post them on your own social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. Every time Carmen gets mentioned online you enhance her digital footprint. We must make sure that she retains her web presence if we ever wish to find a solution in her case. You can help by linking to or sharing this post.

Thank you for helping me help Carmen.


  1. […] information about Carmen Croan came in after I posted her story as Case of the Month for July. A reader emailed me copies of old newspaper articles found on a library fiche. The […]