LCSO: Autopsy determines burned body in Tarkington was 16-year-old Highlands boy

Texas Ranger Ryan Clendennen and Liberty County Sheriff's Investigator Mark Ellington (right) confer outside a property on CR 3015 in Tarkington where a murder investigation is underway. (File photo from March 2021)

Nearly a month after a murder victim’s body was found in a burn pile outside of a residence on a CR 3015 in Tarkington, the autopsy has now confirmed that the victim is 16-year-old Cody Adams, the half-brother of one of the three alleged killers.

DNA results confirmed the body’s identity and Adams’ family members have already been notified, according to Capt. Billy Knox, a spokesperson for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. Adams was reported missing on March 12 out of the Highlands area. His loved ones had been searching for him for days when authorities discovered human remains while executing a search warrant where Adams’ half-brother, Cade Cates, 23, lived in a cabin on his grandfather’s five-acre property on CR 3015.

Two other persons were implicated in the murder scheme – 26-year-old Randy Norlan Salinas, of Channelview, and Kathryn Alexander, 19, of Tomball. Alexander is the girlfriend of Cates.

“Various sources of information began to come to light when the LCSO received a call on Saturday at 12:52 p.m. from a family member of the missing juvenile from Harris County to the effect that it was alleged the juvenile had been killed and was now buried in Liberty County in the vicinity of CR 3015,” DeFoor said in a March 25, 2021, statement to Bluebonnet News.

Cates was initially arrested on a robbery warrant not related to the murder investigation. Harris County Pct. 3 deputy constables brought Randy Salinas to the sheriff’s office where both men were interviewed regarding the remains that were reportedly first buried, then burned.

“There was enough evidence discovered in the investigation to warrant a charge of murder on both Salinas and Cates, and they were arrested and placed in the Liberty County Jail,” DeFoor said. Authorities believe the motive for the murder was drugs.

Cates was charged with Murder with no bond set. Previously Bluebonnet News reported that Cates’ bond was $500,000; however, that bond appears to be associated with an Aggravated Robbery charge stemming from a Sept. 30, 2020, incident in which Cates shot a man in the head during a disturbance at the CR 3015 property in Tarkington.

Like Cates, Salinas was arrested in March 2021. Salinas was charged with Theft of a Firearm. However, he was released from jail six days later. Salinas now is being held on a $1 million bond for the murder charge. Kathryn Alexander was also charged with Murder and booked in at the county jail.

Bluebonnet News is hoping to learn from authorities why neither Cates nor Salinas were in jail at the time of Adams’ murder. An update regarding that information will be posted as soon as information is available.


    • Shouldn’t be a shock. These days hate crimes, violent rage, public shootings and a mother butchering her children. Not too long ago the unpredictable weather had many claiming it as the ‘sign of the times’. Now this! 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Check it off!

  1. You will be missed forever but forever in my heart and spirit. I love you so much Cody. I hope one day I can make you proud!

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