LUFKIN — It's a burning case that has haunted Lufkin for 18 years and will continue to unless the killer is found.
The murder of Megan Curl.
At around 4:30 a.m. the Lufkin Fire Department received a call about flames in a Fox Run apartment number 616.
"When they got there they could not make entries so they had to break into the apartment there had been a fire that had just been started prior before, I'm guessing because a witness saw flames through the window,” said Lt. Mike Shapaka.
No cause of the fire was found but instead, the body of 26-year-old Megan Curl.
Just hours before the fire, Megan was at the Electric Cowboy, a nightclub in Lufkin.
"Megan was out and about clubbing she club the lot went to the clubs a bunch…she was known to dance pretty provocative erotic in the clubs, she was friendly to everybody,” said Shapaka.
Witnesses say a man was buying her drinks at the bar before Megan was kicked out.
She then went to another bar down the street, receiving a ride home from a bouncer.
Once she got to her apartment, she visited her neighbor who, during an interview with police said Megan was crying and saying she just wanted someone to love her.
An hour went by, and a car pulled up in the parking lot of Fox Run - a man - who Megan claimed to be a friend from the bar.
Soon after, she left her friend's apartment and headed upstairs with the man.
Her neighbor checked up on Megan before going to sleep, getting a glimpse of the man she was last been seen alive with.
"A white male inside the apartment that was the last person that had saw her with anybody. He was described as a babyface, wire-rim glasses, in his 20s, small build… she had asked her, ''Hey is everything okay?' and she said, 'yes everything is okay'" said Shapaka, "...then she locked the door and her friend went upstairs and the fire started around four when we got the call.”
Megan's body was found that morning, bound to the bed by pantyhose and a belt, gagged and tortured.
"The burning part that’s gruesome but I’d say the struggle she put up with as he was as he was trying to kill her was the gruesome part because you could see that some of the stuff that he did to her," said Shapaka "her throat was cut and a bag and pillow place over her head probably same time was trying to strangle her.”
Her murder was so gruesome that investigators immediately started trying to find her killer.
“We got started from there and started talking to everybody in that area if they saw anybody what they knew about Megan," said Shapaka.
A prime suspect had come up, Megan's ex-boyfriend Tim Purvis who had just recently gotten out of prison.
"She had trouble with a boyfriend. His name was Tim Purvis. He had caused a lot of problems and grief he had just gotten out of prison about a week prior to her murder. So, of course, we looked at him,” said Shapaka.
But, looking into him didn't get them anywhere.
Tim had an alibi, and with no physical evidence to prove him guilty, they couldn't charge him with Megan's murder.
Over the years, investigators have had people confess to the murder of Megan Curl to look tough and boost their status in prison or with friends but have never gotten to put the man who did it behind bars.
“I’ve been from Houston to Austin on some of these tips and I’m not the only investigator I had this three years after the case initiated and they are the investigators the first ones worked very hard on those for a long time," said Shapak, "there were several different leads we thought we had but then, it would always turn out to be false leads.”
False leads may have given them false hope throughout the years, but with advances in forensics, investigators are hopeful they will be able to answer the burning question.
Who killed Megan Curl?