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Murder of Deborah Houchin, whose body was found burned beyond recognition, features on Your Worst Nightmare

Actress playing Deborah Houchin
An actress playing Deborah Houchin in the lead-up to her death on Your Worst Nightmare

Social worker Deborah Houchin suddenly disappeared in July 2005 — with her body later being found burned beyond recognition. But how did she die?

Her disappearance came after she met future fiance Lester Winningham on an online dating site, with Houchin believing she had found the man of her dreams.

She and Winningham ended up becoming colleagues and got engaged. They are later said to have broke up, although continued to have an on-off relationship.

Deborah, of Arlington, Texas, vanished in July 2005. Her body was later found behind a mechanic’s shop in Muenster, about 90 miles north.

In October 2007, Winningham was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life. However, this was overturned on appeal in 2010 due to insufficient evidence.

Investigation Discovery’s Your Worst Nightmare episode looks at the lead-up to Houchin’s disappearance, and how it took the help of her coworkers to find out what happened to her.

Watch a preview of the episode below:

Your Worst Nightmare airs Saturdays at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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Darrell Martinsen
Darrell Martinsen
9 months ago

I know the focus is always on the victim more than the killer. But usually there’s at least 1 photo of the perpetrator. I have found none. Have you come across any in your research?

Bob
Bob
8 months ago

Debbie was a neighbor of mine for a short while before she was murdered. Unsure why his mug has been removed. What a devil he was.

trinamarie26
trinamarie26
2 months ago

After the case was overturned on appeal, the appeal court reversed it’s decision on review based on an opinion a higher Texas Court of Appeals had in a similar case issue shortly after. It took me a minute to find the reversed decision, but I was curious as to why he was never retried or released.