Was He Killed in an act of Hate? Or did someone think he saw something that he didn’t?

It was on  May 10th, 1996, when thirty year old Juan “Leon” Laureles of Bangs, (Texas)  was found shot to death near his burning 1988 Ford Thunderbird off FM 2126 in the town of Brownwood, Texas. Mr. Laureles left his home which he shared with his brother in Bangs at around 11:30 pm, and he was due at work at midnight that night in Brownwood at the Krogers where he worked the graveyard shift. At 12:30 am, a motorist made a call to 911 to report that they saw a burning vehicle off FM 2126. After firefighters and deputies responded, the fire had been extinguished when Leon Laureles body was found a few feet away from a gunshot in the back of the head.

At the time, investigators were on the lookout for an unknown model pickup, possibly a one-ton, possibly red and off-white or beige with no bed on the truck. The truck was seen in the area prior to the time where Leon’s body had been found. 

According to a 2008 article in the Brownwood Bulletin, Leon had told his sister a short time before he was killed that certain individuals were angry at him and he was unsure why.

There is also a theory that the murder could have been a “Hate Crime” due to Laureles being gay.  

Laureless did not live or engage in a high-risk lifestyle and was known to be a homebody.  .

A private investigator was hired by family members and during their investigation, the investigator revealed to family members that they received death threats.   Not much information was told to the family by the investigator after that.  .

If you have any information regarding Mr. Laureles’s homicide or events leading up to it, please reach out to the Brown County Sheriff’s Office at (325) 646-5510  or visit http://www.heartoftexascrimestoppers.org/ and submit a tip through them if you wish to remain anonymous.

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