On The Case With Paula Zahn is examining the particularly gruesome murder of schoolgirl Angie Housman who was abducted and killed by Earl Webster Cox near her home in St. Ann, Missouri.
In November 1993, a hunter stumbled upon a shocking sight while walking in a secluded wood, they found the remains of 9-year-old Angie tied to a tree. The girl’s eyes and mouth were duct-taped, and she had been sexually assaulted and starved. The authorities concluded that she’d died of exposure the day before she was found.
For nine days, Angie had been missing after she got off her school bus in St. Ann. The police had mobilized helicopters and dogs in an attempt to find the fourth-grade, and the community was devastated when she was found to have died in such a horrible manner.
The case remained unsolved for 25 years until advancements in forensic science allowed the cops to properly analyze the DNA found on Angie. They learned that the kidnapper and killer was Earl Webster Cox.
Rather than face the death penalty, Cox decided to admit to the killing. He explained that he had picked up Angie in his car and driven her to a mobile home in Wentzville, MO, where he held her captive and sexually assaulted her for approximately a week.
This twisted individual then tied the girl to the tree while she was still alive and abandoned her to die.
Earl Webster Cox had a history of abusing girls
Cox was a disgraced Air Force veteran and a convicted pedophile; he was court-martialed after being caught molesting young girls in Germany. And he was arrested in 1989 for molesting a 7-year-old girl on a park bench near Angie Housman’s school.
He was a stranger to the Housmans, and it appears that the kidnapping was a tragic chance encounter. He had been having car trouble and stopped to examine his engine when Angie passed him on the street.
In August 2020, Cox pleaded guilty to abduction and murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
After the sentencing, St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar told reporters that he would have preferred to see Cox get the death penalty. He said: “He does deserve the death penalty, he deserves a worse fate than what he gave to Angie.”
More from On The Case With Paula Zahn
Follow the links to read about more horrendous murders profiled on On The Case With Paula Zahn.
In another case solved using DNA, Jeffrey Hand was found to have sexually assaulted and murdered college student Pamela Milam in 1972. Hand had already perished in a shoot-out with police in 1978.
Curtis Krueger was wracked with jealous rage that his fiancee was having sexual relations with Henry Stange in exchange for drugs. One day, Krueger snapped and beat Stange to death at his home.
On The Case With Paula Zahn airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.