CANYON LAKE, TX –– More than 35 years after Charles Robert Hardin's body was found at a camping location in Jacob's Creek Park, authorities have charged two suspects in connection to the case.
Back in August of 1986, the 56-year-old's partially decomposed body was found inside a tent. The body was “bound hand and foot, with strips of a bedsheet around his neck.”
According to DPS, the subsequent autopsy revealed Hardin had died as a result of asphyxiation and had died at least six days before his body was found.
The homicide investigation began with authorities seeking information regarding a blue, four-door 1983 or 1984 Chevrolet Celebrity sedan that was last seen near the victim's campsite.
For decades the case went cold until Texas Ranger Joshua Ray took over the case.
“We are very, very fortunate to have him working out of our office,” said Sheriff Mark Reynolds. “He asked us for some of our unsolved murders, and through the cooperation with our office and the Texas Rangers, he started looking into them. One of his case reviews led him to see if he could resubmit some of the DNA evidence from the crime scene, which led him to persons of interest.”
As a result, 57-year-old Mark Allen Gatten was arrested in Ohio and extradited to Texas last week.
The second suspect, 56-year-old Tracey Keith Loy, was arrested and extradited to Texas in May.
Both Loy and Gatten were in their twenties when Hardin was murdered.
The connection between the victim and the two suspects is unknown at this time.