Ex-husband charged in murder of woman found dead during Harvey

Crystal McDowell. Her body was found in a wooded area outside of Baytown, Texas (Facebook)

Sheriff: Hurricane Harvey is not the reason she went missing

Body found near Baytown, Texas

“I’ve never been happier in my whole life than I am right now,” Crystal Serratte McDowell wrote on her Facebook on August 25. “God is so good.”

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The next day, Crystal was dead.

Saturday police arrested a 44-year-old man and charged him with murder after her body was discovered in a wooded area near Baytown, Texas. The man was her ex-husband, Steven McDowell. Prior to his arrest, investigators had at least nine persons of interest involved or with possible knowledge of the murder.

Steven McDowell, 44, was arrested in the death of his 37-year old ex-wife, Crystal Seratte. (CHAMBERS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

Crystal, 37, a realtor, was due to pick up her children on the day she disappeared. The children, aged 8 and 5, were at her ex-husband’s home in Baytown. The day after she went missing Hurricane Harvey made landfall just 200 miles down the Texas coast. The following day, when Harvey hit Houston, Crystal’s Mercedes was found underwater at a Motel 6 along Interstate 10, outside the nearby town of Mont Belvieu.

The day before she went missing, she bared no suggestion of her destiny on Facebook.

“Having an awesome day with one of our amazing Realtors and wonderful friend,” McDowell wrote.

“Hurricane Harvey is not the reason Crystal McDowell is missing,” Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne told ABC News. She was last seen on surveillance video leaving her boyfriend Paul Hargrave’s home on her way to pick up her children.  Hawthorne said investigators suspect she was not the one who parked her car there and that whoever abandoned it wanted the vehicle to be found because they had left it unlocked with the keys inside.

Hargrave said he received a text message from her saying she was either going to stay at or leave her ex’s house with the kids depending on weather and traffic conditions. Sheriff Hawthorne did not indicate on how McDowell was killed.


Attorney Luis R Vera Jr 

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