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EquuSearch founder wins wrongful death suit against suspected killer
Galveston
   
 
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GALVESTON

A judge this week issued a default judgment in favor of Tim Miller, the founder of Texas EquuSearch, in a 2014 wrongful death lawsuit against Clyde Edwin Hedrick over the 1984 death of Miller’s daughter, Laura.

The decision, which awarded Miller more than $24 million, is just a small aside to a larger criminal case against Hedrick, who also has been associated with multiple deaths in the two infamous “Killing Fields.”

The decision is a small part of the story, said Curt Hesse, a partner at Houston-based Moore & Associates, which represented Miller.

The decision was issued in the 56th Judicial District Court.

The family doesn’t hope to ever collect the $24 million, but the ruling is meant to ensure Hedrick wouldn’t be able to sell the rights to Miller’s story, Hesse said.

The family also wanted to ensure Miller’s story continued to stay in the public eye to encourage anyone with more information on the 1984 death to come forward, he said.

“There’s been a legal finding that Clyde is civilly liable for the death of Laura Miller,” Hesse said.

While Judge Lonnie Cox, who oversees the court, signed the order in June, it couldn’t be finalized until a hearing held this week, Hesse said. Hedrick didn’t attend the hearing, he said.

“This particular proceeding has been going on for a very long time and Mr. Hedrick has had many opportunities to come forward and give his position,” Hesse said. “He chose not to.”

Miller has accused Hedrick of killing his 16-year-old daughter, Laura. Miller in 2000 formed EquuSearch, which assists in the search for missing people, in memory of his daughter.

Hedrick, 67, was released from prison in October after serving just eight years of a 20-year sentence for an involuntary manslaughter conviction in the 1984 death of Ellen Rae Beason.

He was sentenced to the crime in March 2014, 30 years later, and will be on parole until 2033 with an ankle monitor.

Hedrick originally was charged with murder in Beason’s death, but a Galveston County jury found him guilty of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, according to court records.

He previously had been convicted in 1986 of abusing a corpse after Beason’s body was found under a couch in a field north of the Galveston causeway. He was sentenced to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Beason’s death was the only one for which Hedrick was convicted, but a five-page court document filed by the prosecution before the 2014 trial suggested Hedrick might be tied to the murders of Heide Fye, 25, and Laura Miller, 16. Both bodies were found in the “Killing Fields,” an area near Calder Road in League City.

The bodies of two other women identified in 2019 as Audrey Lee Cook and Donna Prudhomme also were found in the area.


Keri Heath:
Galveston County Daily News

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