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16-Year Cold Case Solved in Polk County – Texas Fugitive Apprehended by U.S. Marshals

Case Featured on TNT’s Cold Justice


The Polk County Sheriff’s Department assisted U.S. Marshals in bringing a Texas fugitive to justice last Thursday, all made possible through the TNT show, Cold Justice. Gorden Craig Houser was apprehended last week from his residence in Wickes, Arkansas and charged with 2 felony counts of Capital Murder for the deaths of Charles and Kathy Hayes of LaPorte, Tex. in 1997.

The Cold Justice episode featuring the case, titled “High School Sweethearts,” aired January 31 and shows footage from Houser’s residence in Wickes.

Deputy Scott Sawyer commended the work of the LaPorte Police Department in 1997 and said their efforts helped lead to Houser’s eventual arrest.

Cold Justice Detectives Yolanda McClary and Kelly Sieglar were in Polk County approximately three months ago and were able to obtain DNA from Houser that led to him being questioned by a Grand Jury in LaPorte a couple of weeks ago and eventually led to his sealed indictment. A warrant was issued for his arrest on January 29 and local law enforcement assisted U.S. Marshals with apprehending Houser from his residence without incident.

Because the indictment is sealed, officials from the Harris County District Attorney’s office could not release much information regarding the case. They did say Houser has been considered a prime suspect in the case for a long time.

The Hayes were found dead in their home by their teenage daughter Tiffenie on the morning of September 27, 1997. The indictment charges Houser with “intentionally and knowingly causing the death of Charles Hayes by striking Charles Hayes with a deadly weapon, namely a hammer,” and the same for Kathy.

A synopsis of the show’s episode said that there was no forced entry into the house and nothing had been stolen. The claw hammer was recovered from a nearby concrete culvert the next day. It also said that Hayes was found in a chair, with his head covered in blood and his wife was found lying face down on the floor in the hallway “with her head bashed in.”

Houser remains in custody at the Polk County Detention Center with no bond, awaiting extradition to Harris County, Texas.



  1. May Charles and Kathy Hayes rest in peace!

  2. Heartbreaking to all affected…two wonderful people who touched many lives …taken from our lives in such a terrible way. We will forever feel a void without them. My wish for many years is that justice will be served!!

  3. That is great news. Poor Tiffenie being blamed all these years. May the Hayes rest in peace. Sick person people. Great job ladies as always.

  4. I watched Cold Justice when they aired this story. I really felt sorry for their daughter because she was judged guilty by the townspeople for so many years. In the words of Gilda Radnor, it goes to show you, you never know….

  5. Me and my husband have watched these two wonderful ladies since they first started their show, they are wonderful at what they do. We love to try and solve these cases with them, and we are pretty good at it. Anyway may this family finaly have some peace, and may the daughter get prsise and apologies from the towns people. Small towns can really be rough and disrespectful to a person if they feel you have done something they do not see fit, so I’m glad she was cleared and the true criminal was caught, thanks to two wonderful ladies and COLD JUSTICE!!!

  6. Saw this ep of Cold Justice, it confused me because the info said it was a case from 2007, but seeing this it makes more sense to me.

  7. Why after two and a half years has this case not gone to court? Why did no one find finger prints and foot prints that would match the accused? Is there DNA matching anything with the crime? You sure you have the right person or just a good suspect that fits how your show was wrote out? If he had been watched all this time why would he able to work for the U S Navy at NAS Corpus Christi TX? for two years.

  8. Well it’s been over three years now and still no trial for Mr. Houser, the truth is the State is never going to win the case and they are just getting all they can out of Gordon before a Judge with backbone will set him free. So right to a speedy trial is not a Texas right. In Nov 2017 the court will again extend the trial or set him free. This Feb it will have been four years, innocent before guilt doesn’t work here in Texas either. The crime after all this time is the inability of the Harris County Court system. God help the poor and down trodden.

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