Ex-Husband Of Realtor Who Went Missing Before Hurricane Harvey Charged With Murder

CHAMBERS COUNTY, TX — The body of Crystal McDowell, the Texas real estate agent who vanished right before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, was found in a marshy wooded area on Saturday, authorities said.

Police have arrested Steven McDowell, 44, the victim’s ex-husband. He has been charged with murder and was booked into Chambers County Jail.

McDowell, a 37-year-old mother of two, disappeared on August 25, the day Harvey landed in the Gulf Coast area of southeast Texas.

Related: Fears Grow For Realtor Who Has Been Missing Since Just Before Hurricane Harvey

According to her boyfriend, Paul Hargrave, Crystal was heading to pick up her two children — who are five and eight —  from the residence she was sharing with her ex-husband, Steve McDowell, while work on her townhouse was being finished.

Hargrave told the press, “She texted me to say road conditions were good around 8:30 A.M.”

Crystle’s uncle, Jeff Walters, reported her missing the following day and took to social media to spread the word about her disappearance.

Related: “Hell’s Realtor Greets You” — Real Estate Rapist’s Facebook Posts Are A Window Into A Disturbed Mind

The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office launched a missing-person investigation and posted information about the case on social media.

The flood made the search difficult, but McDowell’s partly submerged Merdeces was found at a Motel 6 off an interstate highway.

Authorities traced the last ping from her cellphone to a marshy area in Baytown. The search resumed Thursday, and the body turned up Saturday.

Walters said he approached McDowell’s ex-husband and was given a curious explanation for his niece’s disappearance. Walters said:

He showed me a message on his phone where she said she was going to get the kids and go to Dallas. I have reservations about believing that she sent that message.”

At the time, he said that he did not believe that she planned to travel to Dallas.

Read more:
Washington Post 

Main photo: Crystal McDowell [Courtesy Chambers County Sheriff’s Office]


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