Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!
DNA Ties Arkansas Man To Son and Daughter’s 1981 “Heinous” Cold Case Killings
“Weldon Alexander, father to Karen Alexander and Gordon Alexander, is the sole, viable suspect in their murder,” Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell said.
Warning: This story contains graphic content
A now-dead Arkansas man has been linked to the grisly double murder of his son and daughter, who were stabbed to death with a butter knife more than 42 years ago.
Weldon Alexander was identified as the suspect in the deaths of 13-year-old Gordon Alexander and 14-year-old Karen Alexander, who were “brutally murdered” in 1981, the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department announced on October 12.
“After reviewing your comprehensive report and meeting with you personally to discuss the case, your findings and theories, it is my opinion that Weldon Alexander, father to Karen Alexander and Gordon Alexander, is the sole, viable suspect in their murder,” Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell wrote in a letter to Texarkana police, KSLA reported. “I believe probable cause exists for the issuance of a warrant for two counts of capital murder."
Alexander died in 2014, prosecutors said. Officials didn’t disclose the nature of his death. The house where the slayings occurred was since demolished.
“Unfortunately, his death prohibits me from seeking a warrant for his arrest for the offenses of capital murder," Mitchell added. "Sadly, he will never face an earthly judge or jury to answer for his crimes.”
How did Gordon and Karen Alexander die?
On April 8, 1981, Gordon and Karen were found suffering from stab wounds at their Texarkana, Arkansas house at around 7:15 a.m. They’d both been attacked with a butter knife, according to police. Gordon’s body was found in the kitchen. Karen, who initially survived the attack, was found on a bed. She later died in hospital after spending three days in a coma. Officials said she’d been raped.
In the immediate aftermath of the siblings’ murders, authorities struggled to zero in on a possible suspect. Alexander had told detectives at the time that he’d discovered his son and daughter had been stabbed after returning home from working a night shift at a local tire shop. He claimed to have arrived home and found the door ajar, before first finding Gordon, and later, Karen. There were no other signs of forced entry, according to investigators.
Alexander also divulged to officers that he later dislodged a kitchen knife from his daughter’s body, which he’d later placed on a nearby bookshelf, according to a Texarkana Police Department press release. He was never arrested. At the time of the double homicide, the children's mother had been hospitalized, according to KSLA.
The investigation was also hindered by a false confession by a man named Henry Lee Lucas, the so-called “Confession Killer.” Lucas, however, who would go on to confess to hundreds of cold case murders around the U.S., was never charged due to a lack of any evidence tying him to the siblings’ murders. DNA later ruled out his involvement in the case.
For more than four decades, however, justice proved elusive, and the case went cold.
“For decades TAPD detectives have combed through the case files time and again searching for anything that could lead to the identity of a suspect and bring some resolution to the many lives impacted by this crime,” Texarkana, Arkansas Police Chief Michael Kramm said. “Although 42 years have passed since the slaying, we have now identified a lone suspect in this heinous case.”
Authorities re-opened the case file into Gordon and Karen’s murders last year. Dozens of people were interviewed in law enforcement’s renewed efforts to pinpoint the teens' killer. In conjunction with forensic scientists at the Arkansas State Crime Lab, DNA profiles for both siblings were entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
Cold case investigators would ultimately extract DNA from fingernail tissue from both children, which suggested a “familial relationship in the DNA,” according to People. Further analysis revealed that Alexander’s semen was found on Karen's sheets, authorities stated. Additional forensic evidence pulled from dried blood found on both teens' hands contained fibers, as well as brass, copper and zinc — all elemental materials that would have been present at the tire shop where their father worked, according to People.
Authorities now suspect that Alexander sexually assaulted Karen and that he later killed his son when he attempted to intervene and stop the attack.
“It is our hope that the friends and remaining family of Gordon and Karen Alexander may find some peace in knowing that scientific and circumstantial evidence has been revealed sufficient to resolve this 42-year-old case, Kramm added. “We wish to express our greatest appreciation to the team of retired Texarkana Arkansas police Capt. Calvin Seward, Dr. Todd Steffy of the Arkansas State Police Cold Case Unit, Kelly Dixon of the Arkansas State Crime Lab and so many other detectives, police officers, concerned citizens and advocacy groups who provided information and assistance in this case.”
For some investigators on the case, bringing a sense of closure to the investigation — and honoring the Alexander children’s memories along the way — was personal.
“I kept a picture of the kids right above my desk and I would look at them and I would go right to the photos and look at those kids,” said Texarkana Police Capt. Calvin Seward, who was a patrolman in his 30s at the time of the Alexander murders. “It would break your heart. I got kids the same age; my daughter was a classmate of Karen.”