Nearly 40 years later, uncle admits to beating 5-year-old nephew to death: Police

A Texas man was arrested for murder on Monday after her admitted, almost 40 years after the disappearance of his 5-year-old nephew,  that he beat the boy to death.

Dallas Morning News reports that Terry Lee Woodson, 64, initially told police in 1981 that his nephew, Anthony “Burt” Woodson, disappeared. According to Woodson, he left the little boy inside his car as he walked into a 7-11 convenience store off of the 1000 block of Broad Street in Mansfield. Woodson said when he drove home he noticed Burt wasn’t in the car.

Terry Lee Woodson [Photo: Mansfield Police]
In 2017, Mansfield detectives opened a new investigation into Burt’s disappearance, which led to solve the 37-year-old case. During the latest investigation, authorities found that Burt was not taken from his uncle’s car. With the new information, investigators, who had always had suspicions about the uncle, questioned him again. This time, however, Woodson told a different version of events.

Woodson reportedly admitted that he beat his nephew to death while “disciplining” him. According to court documents, Woodson “used an electrical cord or other unknown object” while striking Burt.

“If he had wandered off or had been taken from the car at the 7-Eleven, somebody would have seen something,” former Mansfield police chief,  Mike Leyman, said a few months after Burt disappeared. “This is one of the most mysterious things I’ve seen since I’ve been in police work.”

On Monday, Leyman indicated that investigators have a lot more options in regards to evidence and testing than they did during the 1980s. At the time, authorities didn’t have enough physical evidence to obtain a warrant to search the car.

According to NBC, after admitting to the crime, Woodson let detectives to an area where he said he left Burt. After searching the area thoroughly, authorities came up empty-handed.

Woodson and his wife, Della, began taking care of the boy around 10 months prior to his disappearance. Burt’s mother gave him to his grandmother to care for after the boy’s father divorced her. Burt’s grandmother then handed him over to Woodson after her eyesight began to fail.

Woodson remains behind bars on a murder charge, with a $200,000 bond.

Anyone with any information on the incident is urged to contact Detective Sgt. Tom Hewitt at 817-804-5710.

[Feature Photo: Burt Woodson/Handout]