Police have charged the ex-husband of a Houston-area realtor who was last seen before Hurricane Harvey in connection with her death.
Crystal’s ex-husband, 44-year-old Stephen Wayne McDowell, is charged in her murder. Her body was discovered on Saturday, September 9 in a wooded area of west Chambers County, according to KHOU.
According to authorities and news reports, Crystal never arrived on August 25 to pick up her two children, 5 and 8, from her ex-husband’s home in the Houston area after she left her boyfriend’s home earlier that day less than 18 miles away.
The sheriff says McDowell’s children are now in the care of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, KHOU reports.
Sheriff Hawthorne echoed that sentiment, saying, “She had too many family members and friends, and she had a successful business and she has two attractive children that I just don’t think she would walk away from”. Authorities said they suspected it had been parked there prior to the storm.
Walters said on his Facebook page on Saturday: “She is a light in the heavens that can never be extinguished…”
All the while, Hurricane Harvey was wreaking havoc on Texas, and making the search for McDowell almost impossible. The Chambers County sheriff has not given a motive, but says there are a lot more details that will come out in the days ahead.
McDowell and her ex-husband divorced in June and she had recently been staying with her boyfriend, Paul Hargrave, according to CBS News.
“He said she had sent him a message saying she was coming to pick up the kids to go to Dallas, but she didn’t show”, the uncle told “Dateline”. “We aren’t sure she sent those messages to him, though”.
Before her body was found, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne told ABC News in an interview last week that authorities believed Hurricane Harvey was “not the reason Crystal McDowell [was] missing”. Walters himself traveled to Dallas from Baytown to ride out the storm with his 87-year-old aunt.