2 arrested for Tarkington murder

Two suspects are in custody, charged with Capital Murder, for the shooting death of Robert Strong, 66, of Tarkington. Sometime around 1 a.m. Wednesday, Strong was shot to death in his home on Pine Court off of CR 2282.

It took investigators with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers just 12 hours to investigate the case, develop leads and arrest the two suspects who provided investigators with sworn confessions, authorities say. The two charged are Craig Russell Bryant, 46, of Tarkington, and Randal Scott Dowden, 53, of New Caney.

The motive for the shooting was a threat that Strong reportedly made against one of the men’s family members, said LCSO Investigator Mark Ellington. The suspects reportedly took the law into their own hands and killed Strong before he could carry out his alleged threat.

Initially, Strong’s death was reported to the sheriff’s office as a possible suicide. A neighbor, who heard the early morning gunshot coming from Strong’s home, came to the house later that morning to check on his welfare and found Strong’s body inside a shed that was converted into a living space for him. When deputies arrived, they discovered there was no firearm near Strong’s body and there were signs of forced entry into the home, so investigators were called to take over the case.

The team effort investigation was conducted by Investigator James McQueen, Ellington and Capt. Billy Knox with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Rangers Brandon Bess and Ryan Clendennen.

Bryant was arrested at his home on the 200 block of CR 2292 in Tarkington and Dowden was arrested at his home in the Casey Ridge area on FM 1485 in New Caney.

Both suspects are being booked into the Liberty County Jail. At this time, mugshots are not available. The photos will be added to this article as soon as they are available.

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Previous articleSheriff’s office investigating murder in Tarkington
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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


  1. I grew up here and it Tears me up at times at how bad this place has gotten. Liberty county Need to Up there Squads! Especially CPD and the Prosecutors , etc within the Liberty County Judicial System! A Lot of these senseless acts of murder and crime could be prevented if they took calls and reports a little more serious and quit giving these Criminals a Whopper from Burger King and turning them back out on the streets.. My God this sad ! A man had a gun in my face, hit me with it . I called the CPD and they let him go !! The situation could very well escalated. However I just left the whole town . Who wants to live in a place where the Police just do not care and are crooked.. They cover and hide so many things behind a “so called law ” But Ray Charles can see through there BS . Just saying Good Luck living there . And God Bless this family .

    • Thank you very much for your concern.
      Failure for the police to do their job is exactly why Robert was murdered.
      This man was sick he had a pile of kinlin in our house to sit on fire so he could burn himself to death and they would not take him in.
      I begged them to do something before he ended up hurting someone or his self, but instead they left him in my house told us if we had to call them again everybody was going to jail. And then the next day my neighbor found him dead in my house.
      I completely agree with you that CPD needs to update their law enforcement with more police officers that actually care.

  2. Robert strong threatened to cut an unborn baby from its mother…..after Wich he beat his son with a pipe wrench. I blame liberty county for not taking him in for a mental evaluation.
    This could have been avoided if the police had don’t their job!!
    You people comment on my father calling him a bad man…you don’t know him. He loves his family and he is paying for his crime.
    Mind your own business and let my father be in peace.
    Robert was a very sick man, and even though I wish nothing more than for him to have died naturally that’s not what happened. He is in a better place now… Where he can be at peace from his own demons.
    Find something else to gossip about.

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