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Texas Ranger History: The Houston Family Kidnapping
At 10:02 p.m., October 13, 1971, Police Sgt. Bill Harvell
stopped Huron Ted Walters on a routine traffic violation on FM 157 in
Euless, Texas. When Walters produced a pistol, and aimed it at Harvell's
midsection, Harvell leapt behind Walters' 1962 Plymouth Valiant, and opened
fire with his service revolver. As Walters sped away, Harvell fired four
more rounds, then returned to his patrol car to give chase.
Turning right on Villa drive, Walters stopped to drop off a female passenger
and fired several times on officer Harvell. Farther along Villa Drive,
Walters abandoned his car and disappeared into a pasture surrounded by
drainage ditches, residences, schools and timbered tracts. He took with
him a sawed off shot gun and two boxes of ammunition.
The ten-hour manhunt that followed, involving officers from several
police departments, was unsuccessful.
Hoyt Houston Family Left to right: Hoyt , Jana,
and Mary Houston. Pam Houston (rear) escaped through her bedroom window.
The Ft. Worth Press, Oct. 14, 1971.
Huron Ted Walters
Walter's record included chicken theft, auto theft, burglary, theft,
two prison escapes, bank robbery, assault with a prohibited weapon, assault
Following the kidnapping, the press made much of the fact that during
the late 30's, Walters had been a prison mate of Floyd Hamilton, whose
brother Ray ran with Clyde Barrow. Floyd stated, however, that Walters
was never actually part of the Barrow-Parker gang.
At about 7:30 a.m. on the morning of October 14, Hoyt Houston of Bedford,
Texas went to his garage to return a young kitten to its box. There, he
was confronted by Walters, who had been sleeping in a boat. Walters then
made Houston return to his kitchen at gunpoint, where he took Houston,
his wife Mary, and their five-year-old daughter Jana hostage. Upon hearing
Walters threatening her parents, the Houston's older daughter, Pamela,
escaped through her bedroom window to summon help.
Walters made the Bedford Police drop their weapons, upon their arrival
at the Houston's home. He then forced the family into their 1969 Mercury
Marquis--directing Mrs. Houston to drive while he kept his loaded shot
gun aimed at Mr. Houston's head from the back seat.
Police in pursuit were able to force the car to a stop only twelve and
one half miles en route to Rhome, Texas.
Texas Rangers Company "B", 1974
The standoff took place on Dove Rd. near Hwy. 114 in South Lake Texas
near Grapevine. A police car parked at the end of a small bridge created
a roadblock. While police attempted to negotiate the safe release of the
Houston family, Co. B. Texas Ranger Tom Arnold took aim through the 2x7
power scope of his 30-06 rifle.
At 8:09 a.m. Ranger Arnold noticed Walter's attention waiver momentarily
when police on either side of the vehicle distracted him. When Walters
lifted the shot gun from Mr. Houston's head toward the ceiling of the
vehicle, Arnold fired his rifle, instantly killing Walters. His vision
obscured by the shattered rear window of the Marquis, Arnold immediately
dropped his rifle, ran to the car and fired three more rounds into Walters'
body through the rear side window.
Scene of Stand-off
Houston family Mercury Marquis, with rifle shot
that killed Walters indicatedby arrow.
Courtesy Texas Dept. of Public Safety
The Houston family exited the car upon hearing the first shot fired.
They escaped unhurt, except for a small cut to Mr. Houston's right arm,
caused by flying glass.