Synonymous with kidnapping & torture, haunting '80s Texas Slave Ranch legacy survives
'Texas Slave Ranch' offspring made the best of life (San Antonio Express-News)
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Ranch foreman Carlton Robert Caldwell and another worker built a funeral pyre and, as a cassette tape of Johnny Cash's “Ring of Fire” played, burned Anthony Bates' remains. The ashes were scooped into two 55-gallon drums, according to published reports. Bones found at the site were determined to be those of a young adult male.
“We used old inner tubes, cedar and gasoline,” Caldwell said. “We used cedar because it burns fast and strong. I knew what I was doing; I had options. But the guy was dead, and there was no bringing him back.”
By [the time Caldwell left], according to court testimony, workers were being held at gunpoint and forced to write their own suicide notes and tie nooses and dig ditches in preparation for their own deaths, or so they were led to believe.
More than a dozen cassette tapes with about 40 hours of recorded torture sessions were seized during the raid, along with guns, machetes, an ax, knives, ropes chains, padlocks, bone fragments, the cattle prod and business papers.
We are, I know not how, double in ourselves, so that what we believe we disbelieve, and cannot rid ourselves of what we condemn. (Michel de Montaigne)