Case Featured on TNT’s Cold Justice
BY LEANN DILBECK –
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.