The Mystery Surrounding the Killer Joe Ball
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The Mystery Surrounding the Killer Joe Ball

Bloody knife

One of the most mysterious murderers, notorious in Texas, is Joe Ball. No one can say for sure how many people died at the hands of the menacing criminal but there is hardly a local who hasn't heard his name, writes

In 2002, Michael Hall began seeking out eyewitnesses to Ball's crimes and gathering stories, in an attempt to get to the truth behind the persona of the cold-hearted killer.

Joseph D. Ball was born on January 7, 1896 in Elmendorf, Texas to a relatively wealthy family. As a child, Joe did not like playing with the other kids and spent most of his time outside in nature. Later, he became interested in weapons.

In 1917, he joined the Army, to participate in the war between the US and Germany and ended up in Europe. 2 years later he returned home to Elmendorf, where he bootlegged whiskey and beer for a while.

After Prohibition ended, Joe decided to open a saloon where he would sell alcoholic beverages. To attract crowds, he began looking after alligators around the bar. The other thing that his patrons noticed was that he always hired the most beautiful local girls as waitresses.

In 1934, he met Mini Goddard and she began helping him run the bar. Besides with her, however, he had intimate contact with Dolores Goodwin and Hazel Brown. At one point, Ball was forced to control all 3 women, who were working at the same time. In 1937, Mini disappeared suddenly. Then, he married Dolores, who in 1938 lost her arm in a car accident. In the meantime, rumors started that she was actually attacked by Joe's alligators.

Some time later, Dolores also vanished mysteriously and Hazel after her. This made it clear that Joe's lovers were unable to stick by him but his alligators always remained true friends.


The families of Joe's disappeared girlfriends were haunted by doubt however. Besides to Dolores's parents, he had to give explanations to Julia Turner's family, who was also a serving girl at his bar. Afterwards, more girls working at the bar disappeared. Joe was being questioned by sheriffs ever more frequently but he did not admit to having anything to do with the occurrences.

But soon something would happen that would make authorities believe that they had him in their grasp. A neighbor of his told police that he had seen Joe feed human meat to his alligators. Police went to Joe's bar to question him yet again. This time he pulled out a 45 caliber revolver and shot himself.

Police then found rotting meat around the lake with the alligators. After the ensuing interrogations of the people who knew Joe it became evident that the meat was not actually human. His lover, Hazel, wanted to go off with another man, which is why he killed her and buried her body. Then, the reason the barkeeper murdered Mini was because she was pregnant. But her body was also buried in the sand. Dolores, however, remained alive. She left the city because she wanted to start a new life. According to her testimony, Joe would never kill anyone without reason or feed his alligators with them.

It's possible that Joe did not in fact feed his pets human meat... or he simply cleaned the lake very well before the investigation. Ultimately, there's no way to know for sure what happened, say investigators.