Investigation Widens Into "House of Horrors"

Kidnapping suspect questioned in disappearances of two women

By Scott Gordon
|  Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011  |  Updated 3:47 PM CDT
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A <a title=Corsicana man accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman for 12 days is also suspected in the disappearances of two other women." />

Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com

A Corsicana man accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman for 12 days is also suspected in the disappearances of two other women.

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Investigators Still at Maxwell's Home

Investigators continue to collect evidence at Jeffrey Maxwell's home, while neighbors describe their neighbor as keeping to himself.

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A rejected suitor is charged with abducting a Parker County woman at gunpoint and assaulting her at his home for nearly two weeks.
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A Corsicana man accused of kidnapping and and torturing a former neighbor in Parker County for 12 days in a "house of horrors" is also a suspect in the cases of two women missing for years, authorities said Monday.

Jeffrey Maxwell was arrested Saturday at his farmhouse in Corsicana. When investigators knocked on his door, the missing woman screamed out from inside, "I'm here, I'm here," Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said.

Fowler said investigators plan to also question him about his former wife, who vanished in 1992, and an Azle woman who hasn't been seen since 2000.

Inside his farmhouse, police found a bed with chains and leather restraints, handcuffs and ankle restraints, according to court documents.

Maxwell's arrest complaint said he confessed to kidnapping his former neighbor, admitting "he took (her) to his garage and strung her up in a homemade device used for skinning deer."

"I hope I never see it again," Fowler said. "To me, it was a house of horrors, and I'm going to let it go at that."

The woman was sexually assaulted and treated at a hospital for injuries on her wrists and ankles where she had been restrained, Fowler said.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Maxwell said he was paid $2,500 from individuals he refused to name to make the woman "go away."

Investigators were led to Maxwell's Corsicana house after neighbors of the missing Parker County woman reported he had harassed her years ago and saw his car speeding from her home immediately before it erupted in flames two weeks ago, Fowler said.

Now, the investigation is expanding into whether Maxwell was involved in the disappearances of the two other women.

His former wife, Martha Martinez, disappeared in 1992 in Fort Worth.

"She's not alive," said her sister-in-law Carole Martinez. "She would have contacted all of us. She was very close to her family."

For years, police suspected Maxwell killed her, but there was no body and no evidence, said retired Fort Worth detective Sonny Byington.

"That's one case that's been on my mind all these years," he said.

Byington said he interviewed Maxwell several times.

"His story was, she just got fed up with the marriage and just wanted to leave," Byington said. "I absolutely did not believe him."

Martinez's family had their own suspicions.

"There were several instances where he tried to kill her before," Carole Martinez said.

Investigators believe Maxwell may also have been involved in the disappearance of Amelia Smith, who vanished in 2000 after her home near Azle burned.

Now that Maxwell is behind bars, his former wife's family hopes they will find out what happened to her.

"I would really hope that he may just decide to tell us where she is so we can have closure, so we can have a funeral," Carole Martinez said. "If I could ask him, I'd ask him, 'Jeff, please tell us. We just want to know. This isn't going to really change your life much, but it would definitely change ours.'"

Maxwell remained jailed in Parker County on Tuesday charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. His bond is set at $400,000.


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