Weldon Alexander is believed to have killed his 14-year-old daughter Karen Alexander and 13-year-old son Gordon Alexander in 1981
More than four decades after two young siblings were found murdered in an Arkansas home, authorities have finally identified a suspect through DNA evidence — their father.
At a press conference on Oct. 19, Texarkana Police Chief Michael Kramm announced that Weldon Alexander is believed to have fatally stabbed his 14-year-old daughter Karen Alexander and 13-year-old son Gordon Alexander in 1981. Police said the suspect died in 2014.
On April 8, 1981, the siblings were found stabbed in their Texarkana home by local police. Gordon was found dead in the kitchen while Karen was found on a bed in the living room still alive, but suffering from stab wounds. Police said the murder weapon used was a butter knife, which they recovered from the scene.
Karen was taken to a local hospital, where she spent three days in a coma before dying from her injuries, according to a 1981 news report by the United Press International. Gordon was reportedly confined to a wheelchair at the time of the brutal attack.
An autopsy at the time revealed that Karen had been sexually assaulted 48 to 72 hours before she died and had likely been sexually assaulted for about six months leading up to her death, police said at the press conference.
According to investigators, there was no sign of forced entry. Police said at the press conference that at the time of the murders, the children’s mother, Vera Alexander, was in the hospital as a patient being treated for mental health issues and the father, Weldon, was working an overnight shift at Copper Tire and Rubber.
Weldon arrived home from work shortly after 7 a.m. when he claimed that both the screen door and the wooden front door were slightly open, police said. He said he walked inside and found his son dead in the kitchen and he thought his daughter might still be alive on her bed near the living room area.
Weldon reportedly told police that he removed a kitchen knife from Karen’s body and put it on a nearby bookshelf before officers arrived.
Detectives spent years combing through evidence, identifying witnesses, and following up on leads. By 1983, Henry Lee Lucas, a notorious serial killer also known as the “Confession Killer,” claimed to have murdered the children, but was never charged due to lack of evidence. The case eventually went cold.
In February 2022, the case was reopened by retired Capt. Calvin Seward, who was a patrol officer at the time of the murders and assigned to locate persons of interest in the case. Over the course of the next 18 months, Seward identified, interviewed, and re-interviewed dozens of people named in the original case and many of their associates.
He reportedly submitted DNA profiles into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) from people linked to the original investigation. Seward, along with Dr. Todd Steffy, a forensic criminologist, and Kelli Dixon, a DNA scientist at the Arkansas State Crime Lab, collectively decided to resubmit evidence given the recent advancements in DNA technology.
That year, DNA was extracted from both victim’s fingernail tissue to be tested. The results revealed a “familial relationship in the DNA” and found that Weldon’s semen was discovered on Karen’s bedding, police said. Investigators also learned that Gordon’s body had been cold to the touch when police officers arrived at the scene, leading them to suspect that he had been dead hours longer than they initially believed.
Also, evidence taken from the dried blood found on Gordon’s hands and Karen’s body contained fibers, brass, copper and zinc, all of which were materials used in the construction of tires at Copper Tire and Rubber, where their father worked.
Capt. Seward told reporters that he believes Weldon attempted to rape his daughter, then her brother tried to stop it. Weldon then attacked Karen and Gordon.
“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,” a police press release states.
Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell said she’s confident that Weldon is the sole suspect in the murders, and believes that if he was alive today, she would be requesting an arrest warrant for two counts of capital murder.
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