Relive the horrifying story of a Texas slave ranch

San Antonio – Kidnapping, torture and murder are some of the horrifying details that came from the ranch of the mountain home community.

This is about 20 miles west of Carville.

In the 1980s, rancher Walter Ellebracht Sr., his son Walter Jr., and former rancher Carlton Robert Caldwell made money by selling timber not only to San Antonio but also to businesses in the surrounding area.

One day, investigators were informed that a hitchhiker had been kidnapped on an I-10 and kidnapped on an Elebrahat ranch.

When authorities appeared, they found people there who were enslaved and tortured.

One of the victims, Travis Boyd, told investigators that they were tortured with cow dung and chained to a bard at night.

Witness Sheri Hamilton later said she had seen a torture session involving 27-year-old Anthony Bates.

Hamilton said the peasants took turns shocking Bates with cow dung until he died. She told investigators that they had burned his body, put his ashes in barrels, and dumped them in the river.


During the February 1984 raid, law enforcement agencies found fragments and audio tapes of a torture session.

The rancher was later arrested on multiple charges, including the kidnapping of Bates’ death and the exacerbation of murder.

A Texas slave ranch trial was held in 1986 and lasted for three months.

Ellebracht Sr. was on probation, his son Walter was appealed and remained free for a 15-year sentence, and Caldwell was serving less than three years out of a 14-year sentence. They were only convicted of organized crime.

The number of victims who were part of the Texas slave ranch is unknown.

Courtesy: Carville Daily Times (Copyright 2021-KSAT is prohibited from copying or reprinting without permission.)

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Relive the horrifying story of a Texas slave ranch

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