HOUSTON (CBS Houston) Two years ago, Arvis Thurman was at the mercy of the public. She appeared in a televised interview, pleading with residents for information that would help solve the September 2002 killing of her only daughter, 22-year-old Cherita Thurman.

With DNA evidence and a thorough investigation, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit was finally able to file murder charges against  an ex-convict who had DNA that linked him to the killing of Thurman’s only daughter, Cherita Thurman. Her alleged killer, 41-year-old Craig Demetrius Porter of Houston was to finally pay for the crime.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia resurrected the Cold Case Unit in early 2009 with Thurman’s case being the 17th case being solved. “Our Cold Case squad is second to none,” the sheriff said. “I want to thank them for their incredible work in making sure that cases that were cold get thawed out as soon as possible,” Sheriff Garcia said in a statement.

Craig Demetrius Porter (credit: HCSO)

Craig Demetrius Porter
(credit: HCSO)

Cherita Thurman was found in her home located at the Haverstock Hills apartment complex, nude, bound and battered. The area quickly descended into an area that was laden with crime activity until Harris County Sheriff’s Office authorities and deputies made their presence known.

It was later determined that Thurman died from asphyxiation, according to an autopsy. HCSO investigators gathered genetic material as well as poignant evidence from her apartment but did not have DNA any individual.

Soon, Porter’s DNA information was gathered while he served out a sentence in a state jail for manufacturing or distributing illegal drugs. Officials then found that the DNA from the apartment was matched through a law enforcement database; Porter’s DNA was a positive match to the DNA found at the Trurman crime scene.

With more evidence and more time investigating the particulars of the crime, Porter was arrested for the murder of Cherita Thurman at his Harris County residence Tuesday. HCSO officials say that he sits in the Harris County Jail pending trial.

Arvis Thurman who appeared at a news conference on Wednesday, told media outlets that she can now have some type of rest knowing that her daughter’s murder has been solved: “There’s some kind of closure there,” Thurman said Wednesday.


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