Samuel Everett Murder: How Did Hilton Crawford Die?

Image Credit: The Courier/Paulette Everett Norman

Residents of Conroe, Texas, were left shocked when 12-year-old Samuel McKay Everett was kidnapped from his home on September 12, 1995. His parents, Carl Everett and Paulette Everett Norman, were away attending an Amway meeting, and they returned to find their home completely empty. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death: Satan Walking’ chronicles the shocking incident and portrays where Samuel’s remains were discovered a few days later on the edge of a Louisiana swamp.

How Did Samuel McKay Everett Die?

A lively and cheerful 12-year-old kid, Samuel resided with his parents, Carl and Paulette, in Conroe, Texas. Like any other pre-teen, he loved living an active life and spending time with his friends. Moreover, Samuel’s teachers at school praised his intelligence and mentioned that he was a brilliant student with great aspirations. Even Samuel’s mother talked about the inspiring ideas the boy had from time to time and how he could not wait to graduate school and move on with his life. However, little did people know that a sudden tragedy would wipe out such an innocent life from this world.

Image Credit: The Courier/Paulette Everett Norman

Since Carl and Paulette were members of the Amway program, they planned on attending a meeting on the evening of September 12, 1995. The meeting was held close to their home, and Samuel’s parents were confident about leaving the 12-year-old alone at home. Moreover, Carl even called occasionally just to make sure that Samuel was doing okay. Surprisingly, halfway through the meeting, Samuel suddenly stopped receiving his parents’ calls, which made them quite anxious.

Without wasting any time, Carl and Paulette rushed back home, only to find it completely empty. As the panic spread, the couple contacted their neighbors and organized a search party to look for the missing kid. Yet, before the group began the search, Carl received a call on the phone from a female who had a raspy voice. The female claimed they had kidnapped Samuel and wanted $500,000 in exchange for his safe return. However, a place or time for the ransom exchange was not specified. Naturally, without taking any chances, Carl and Paulette approached the police to report the incident.

Once law enforcement officials got involved, they organized several search parties and combed through the local areas looking for the missing child. Authorities even asked Samuel’s parents if someone had a grudge against their family, while several neighbors and acquaintances were interviewed. Yet, there was no progress in the case for six days until Samuel’s remains were discovered on the edge of a swamp in Lousiana. An initial medical examination proved that the child was tortured mercilessly, while an autopsy claimed he was shot twice with a .45 caliber pistol in the head and chest, which ultimately led to this death.

Who Killed Samuel McKay Everett?

The initial investigation into Samuel’s kidnapping was quite challenging as the police did not have any leads to work with. Even though they canvassed the area around the Everett house and went door to door looking for a witness, no one seemed to know anything about the incident. Nevertheless, when Carl and Paulette were asked to make a list of their acquaintances, they included their friend, Hilton Crawford, who was in the same Amway program.

Moreover, Carl mentioned that even though Hilton had insisted on holding the meeting on September 12, he himself was a no-show. Naturally, this made Hilton a person of interest in the investigation, and Samuel’s parents even revealed that the 12-year-old was pretty familiar with the suspect. On the other hand, when asking around, law enforcement officers learned that a gold Chrysler was seen speeding through the neighborhood on the night of the kidnapping.

Using a description of the car, the police were able to track it to a storage yard in Beaumont. Incidentally, Hilton had previously worked as a  police officer and Sheriff’s Deputy in Beaumont, and it did not take long for the police to trace the car back to him. Moreover, the police traced the suspect’s movement through phone records and realized that he had contacted several former employees, asking them to provide him with a false alibi. On top of it, Hilton and his wife recently filed for bankruptcy and had over $300,000 in debt, which provided them with a motive for the kidnapping.

In the meantime, the investigation led to a woman who worked for one of Hilton’s former businesses. When confronted, she immediately confessed to making the ransom call on her former employer’s behalf. That was when police officers arrested Hilton Crawford and charged him with kidnapping. However, quite surprisingly, the suspect did not deny the charges but instead drew a map to help investigators recover Samuel’s remains.

Hilton Crawford Was Executed by Lethal Injection

When presented in court, Hilton Crawford now claimed he was present at the scene of Samuel’s murder, but a man named R.L. Remington was the one who pulled the trigger. However, there was no evidence to support this theory, and the suspect was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1996. In the years that followed, Hilton tried his best to get his conviction overturned and plead for clemency, but all his petitions were turned down. Hence, on July 2, 2003, Samuel’s mother, Paulette Everett Norman, watched as Hilton Crawford was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas.

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