Defendants accused in a 1986 murder at a Canyon Lake campground and the homicide of a woman on a residential New Braunfels street topped November and December grand jury indictments released last week by Criminal District Attorney Jennifer Tharp.
On June 7, the Comal County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrests of Tracey Keith Loy, 56, of St. George, Utah, and Mark Allen Gatten, 57, of Quaker City, Ohio, charged with murdering Charles Robert Hardin, 56, of Houston.
On Aug. 26, 1986, CCSO deputies and investigators discovered Hardin’s body at a camping location in Jacob’s Creek Park on the east end of Canyon Lake. A subsequent autopsy determined Hardin’s death was a homicide.
CCSO said DNA evidence from the crime scene, processed at the Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab in Austin, identified both men as persons of interest. Subsequent interviews led to their arrests on murder charges, with warrants served in their cities and states of residence on May 27.
In early September, Texas Ranger Joshua Ray, who helped resurrect the cold case, accompanied Gatten from the Guernsey County (Ohio) Jail and booked him into the Comal County Jail where he remains under $500,000 bond. Loy, extradited to Texas on May 31, also remains in the county lockup under $500,000 bond.
Also indicted was Clifton Adam Meneley, 39, of Selma, charged with the Oct. 26 murder of 34-year old Kathleen Josephine Johnson, also of Selma, whose lifeless body was found with “multiple” gunshot wounds inside a Dodge Ram pickup truck at intersection of North Live Oak Avenue and West Mill Street.
It took the city nearly 24 hours to report the incident, in which police used non-lethal force to subdue Meneley, found holding a handgun while standing next to the truck. Meneley, also indicted for murder and family violence assault with a deadly weapon, remains in the county lockup under $1,500,000 bond.
Also indicted was Emily Marie Anderson, the Canyon High School teacher indicted on two counts of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy on the school campus on separate occasions in May and July.
Anderson, 34, of New Braunfels, was arrested in August. Her arrest affidavit, requested by the Herald-Zeitung under the Texas Public Information Act, stated the finding of sexually explicit texts between the educator and student, who later admitted to having sexual trysts in classrooms on campus.
Anderson was arrested following an interview at New Braunfels Police Department headquarters and transported to Comal County Jail. She was released after posting bond on two counts of sexual assault of a child following that arrest, and was released again last week after posting $150,000 total in bonds after indictments on those charges and two indictments alleging an improper relationship between an educator and student. Steve Stanford Comal Independent School District’s executive director of communications and governmental affairs said Anderson resigned from the district shortly before the winter break.
Aaron Arnaldo Gomez, 28, of New Braunfels, was indicted on several charges, including two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a public servant, stemming from a Sept. 15 altercation in the parking lot of a business in the 200 block of Business 35 South.
Gomez, suspected in an aggravated kidnapping earlier that day, had active warrants alleging unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and was wanted for violating parole on a 2015 aggravated robbery conviction.
Police said Gomez tried to ram his vehicle into other parked cars while trying to escape the officers, who fired at the car and critically wounded Gomez, who was taken to Seton Hays Hospital in Kyle.
Two NBPD officers placed on paid leave pending the outcome of internal and external investigations have since returned to duty. Gomez was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant, four counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, evading arrest with a vehicle and evading arrest or detention with a previous conviction.
Gomez was released from the hospital Sept. 30 and booked into the Comal County Jail, where he remains under bonds totaling $500,000 on the indictments and without bail on the parole violation issued by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.