Daniella & the Brown Dirt Cowboy

Daniella & the Brown Dirt Cowboy

By: Bill the Butcher

Legends are just that, legends! The bones of facts are filled out with details that quite often are lost in the mists of time, but the results are far better than the dry history that is served up for our edification. So is the story of a teenage girl from Germany who found herself in Texas in ‘79.

Daniella’s parents had moved to Killeen for work at nearby Fort Hood. She was a comely lass with dark brown hair, and the promise of becoming a fine young lady some day. She, and her parents lived in a trailer park along the banks of Nolan Creek. She loved to swim in the pool afforded by the park, and with the endless summer of Texas she found herself at the pool more often than not. She was easy on the eye.

But all eyes did not appreciate her beauty with honest intentions. There was one man, a park maintenance man, who wanted to take his appreciation of enjoying her swim to a more personal level, and Daniella found herself involved far beyond attracting the attention of boys her age by simply being cute on a warm summer day.

One day she didn’t come home from the pool. She had led a very controlled German life. Not abused, but in true German fashion she was expected to obey her parents. Even being late coming home was inexcusable, and not coming home at all was unthinkable.

The parents came to the office at the park. They made inquiries with other residents, and the office manager. No luck. Then, the next day the manager noticed that the maintenance man did not show up for work. His attraction to the pool, and the children in it had not gone unnoticed, but it was thought to be a safe area because the numbers of people, and with the employee’s criminal record it was believed he would be wary of any involvement with young girls. This was challenged by the girl’s father on the third day of her absence.

He told the office manager that the man had been vicariously eying his daughter, even hanging around her trailer. And with a hundred trailers in the park it was suspicious as to just why he primarily found himself there rather than mowing grass on the John Deere tractor which was his main job. By the third day the truth was becoming abundantly clear!

A police report was filed, and in due fashion, quickly filed away. Runaway sixteen year old girls in Killeen, Texas were not exactly a rare occurrence. The parents were at their wits end. The manager listened to their pleas, and finally took them into his private office.

There was a man. Someone he’d grown up with. He explained to them that this was not a nice man, but he had his ways, and if their daughter could be found this man would be the one who could do it.

Anything!” The parents would give him anything if somehow he could just bring their Daniella home. The manager told them that would have to be a private agreement between just the three of them, and he made the call.

His name was Junior. Just Junior. He’d grown up in a subset of Killeen called Simmonsville. In his youth he’d hunted rabbits along Nolan Creek, and after Killeen Annexed Simmonsville he robbed convenience stores in and around Houston. He’d spent more time in jail than out, and he could out shoot any local law enforcement. He was Texas in 1880!

Junior listened to the German couple, and then told them what he thought. He told them the maintenance man had kidnapped their daughter. The fact that the man had returned to work showed he was stupid, and returning alone showed that he had no more use for Daniella. He said the return of the man without the girl was ominous, but should she still be alive, he had a pretty good idea of where she might be.

They told him they would pay anything to get their daughter back alive. Junior told him just pay him when they saw him again, that he’d be in touch, and left unseen via a back door.

The maintenance man just happened to be mowing grass that day when Junior caught him doing a section down along Nolan Creek. He acted surprised, as if nothing had happened. Being an ex-con he played dumb, so Junior dragged him down to Nolan Creek, and cut the little finger on his right hand off with a pair of side dikes. Junior later related to the park manager that after that, the maintenance man confessed to all of his sins. Junior said before it was all over he thought he was going to shoot the tractor driver just to shut him up. But, Junior got one key piece of information. Daniella had been left alive in Nuevo Laredo! The maintenance man said that he had left her there. Junior gave the man his finger back and let him go.

Within ten hours Junior found himself down around “Boys Town” in Mexico. Details of what happened are sketchy, but talk has it there was a biker gang, a sixteen year old girl, and a man called Junior who traded a hand grenade for the little girl. Not long after that the German parents were reunited with their daughter in the park manager’s private office. Junior told them to forget about America. Just take Daniella and go home. That was his price for the job.

I’ve been told that the maintenance man was killed some time after that in a Texas prison. “Someone” cut his throat. . . but then, that’s none of my business!


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