As happens in most deeply researched stories, I found interesting connections that did not make their way into my Dirty Laundry crime story. Two involved Angela DeDear, the Liberty, Texas title company officer and step-daughter of murder victim Joe Floyd Collins.
Angela was a newly married young college graduate when Collins was shot to death on Oct. 12, 1984. Floyd, as she called her step-father, fired the clerk who usually ran the store and looked for a temporary fill-in on the fateful evening he died. He asked Angela, and she declined. She realized she might have been the murder victim.
That would not be her only time to shudder over seemingly random fateful moments. In 2009, 25 years after Collins' murder, she closed the sale of L.R. Matthews's inherited property . Told later that she sat across from my "person of interest" in her step-father's murder, she said: "Oh, that really creeps me out."
Another puzzle without answers came from Eddie Elliott, original owner of County Line Liquor. Opening the store in 1975, Eddie had installed several security cameras. For some reason unknown to him, Joe Floyd Collins removed the cameras after purchasing the store. Those cameras might have provided images that would have solved the crime.