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What Did I Want To Be When I Grew Up?

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Lela has had many wonderful adventures in her life. Part Three covers the beginnings of a serious desire to find a career path.

The Torso Incident

Stumpy - The mystery was never solved.

Stumpy - The mystery was never solved.

The Unsolved Mystery of Stumpy

Imagine an eight-year-old girl waiting for her sister to return from a friend's house in the summer of 1960. Our neighbor's house had burned down and some of their family were staying with our family. The girls had ridden their bikes to borrow some dinnerware, so we could all eat together.

What I remember, and what really happened, is a matter of conjection. I was happy to be waiting in our carport for them to return and get dinner ready. The three girls (in their teens) raced into the yard screaming their heads off!

From my foggy memory, I recall them describing a "headless" body, or torso, that came "flying out of the woods"! The next thing I remember is my mom driving us around the block in our car. My brother and I were in the back seat, staring out of the window looking for the "tasmanian devil", which was as close a description the girls could come up with. I did not get to see this "flying torso", but about a week later, I recalled something about it in the news.

Years passed. I was a teenager before I asked my sister about the "torso" incident. She could not remember any part of the story, except for our friend's house burning down.

Was it a Tasmanian Devil?

Was this all a wildlife incident?

Was this all a wildlife incident?

The Story of "Stubby"

I assumed the whole thing was my childish imagination. As I grew up, I did go through several career changes. But my first memory of what I wanted to be when I grew up was a homicide detective. I remembered the way the girls screamed at the impossible scenario of a "torso flying out of the woods".

I was about 30 years old, the next time "stumpy" made an appearance in my life. At this point, I had become a Laboratory Scientist, working in a small hospital in Houston. I was dating a cop, who I will call, Randy.

Randy had been invited to a lecture by the then retiring Medical Examiner, who was a friend of Randy's.

Both Randy and I had a morbid curiosity about weird ways to die. As we sat in the audience, listening to the M.E.'s speech, he began to describe his most unsolved case. It was a case of a man's body recovered in North Houston that had no arms, legs, or head. It was just a torso that he could never identify. He had named him, "Stubby" He regretted never being able to identify him, or to be able to notify his relatives.

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It was like a very cold chill ran through my body. I had called my torso by the name of "Stumpy", but the M.E. was talking about another torso that he called "Stubby". Stubby had been found in a different place from where I remember the woods to be when Stumpy "flew out". Also, Stubby had been killed and found in a different year.

30 Years Ago: 'Stubby' is Finally Laid to Rest (Houston Chronicle)

E. Joseph Deering/Houston Chronicle 30 years ago: 'Stubby' is finally laid to rest,  Harris County morgue since 1964. San Gabriel Cemetery, Richmond.

E. Joseph Deering/Houston Chronicle 30 years ago: 'Stubby' is finally laid to rest, Harris County morgue since 1964. San Gabriel Cemetery, Richmond.

Was a Serial Killer on the Loose?

"Authorities were able to describe him as a dark-haired white male, about 6 feet tall, around 50 years of age, and weighing about 180-185 pounds. A rib was broken, but, otherwise, the man had no bullet wounds or identifying marks".


Did I Really Want to be a Homicide Detective?

As a child, did I really witness a "body dump" from a serial killer? A killer that was never found and brought to justice? I wonder to this day if Stumpy was as real as Stubby, and did the Homicide Detectives ever connect the two cases?

How to Become a Homicide Detective

What are the requirements needed to be a homicide detective?

  1. Consider earning a degree, preferably a Master's degree in Criminal Justice
  2. Enlist in a police academy
  3. Gain experience as a police officer
  4. Apply to be a homicide detective, it is a different division of law enforcement

Skills Required:

Homicide Detective's list of skills:

  • Objectivity
  • Critical thinking
  • Ethics
  • Crime scene management
  • Investigation techniques
  • Legal procedures

Average salary for a Homicide Detective in the USA, according to


Investigator: $110,775

What do You Think?

© 2022 Lela

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