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Two people arrested in 1986 Comal County cold case

In August 1986, deputies and investigators responded to a camping location at Jacob’s Creek Park near Canyon Lake, Texas, where they discovered Hardin’s body.
Credit: fergregory - stock.adobe.com

SAN ANTONIO — On Monday, the Comal County Sheriff's Office announced two suspects had been arrested in connection with a cold case more than 30 years ago.

CCSO said 56-year-old Tracey Keith Loy, of St. George, Utah, and 57-year-old Mark Gatten, of Quaker City, Ohio, have each been charged with one count of murder in the 1986 death of 56-year-old Charles Robert Hardin. 

On August 26, 1986, CCSO deputies and investigators responded to a camping location at Jacob’s Creek Park near Canyon Lake, Texas, where they discovered Hardin’s body. 

An autopsy was conducted and the manner of death was ruled a homicide, according to CCSO.

In March of 2021, The Texas Rangers were asked to assist in reviewing this cold case. Evidence collected from the crime scene was resubmitted to the DPS Crime Laboratory in Austin for additional forensic testing. 

Through investigation, Loy and Gatten were eventually identified as persons of interest, officials said. 

On May 9, 2021, Texas Ranger Joshua Ray located and interviewed Loy in St. George, Utah. An arrest warrant was obtained for Loy and he was extradited to Texas on May 31st . He is currently being held in the Comal County Jail.

On May 26, 2021 Ranger Ray obtained an arrest warrant for Gatten who was located in Quaker City, Ohio. He is awaiting extradition to Texas, according to officials. 

The Comal County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Texas Rangers, St. George Police Department, Utah State Bureau of Investigation, Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for their assistance in this investigation.