Sheriff: Baytown realtor was strangled in living room


He made a "tearful, remorseful confession", says Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne, per KTRK. McDowell is in custody on murder charges.

Steven Wayne McDowell, 44, was charged with strangling his ex-wife.

. As the waters receded and the weeks-long search for her body came to a tragic end, authorities arrested her ex-husband in connection to her murder this past Saturday. Crystal has passed. However Crystal's spirit will continue to grow and thrive through her children and those that knew her best. Her uncle said McDowell never talked about their fighting, only that they "had their disagreements".

The sheriff said that the timing of the hurricane played no part in the homicide.

Crystal Serrate McDowell, 37, went missing right before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas, on August 25, 2017.


"Despite pervasive online rumors to the contrary, Hawthorne said there is no reason to believe the children saw the crime", the Chronicle notes. Crystal was staying with the suspected killer while her own home was being renovated, though their divorce had been finalized months before.

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"Tragedy struck into the hearts of friends and family across the nation", Crystal McDowell's boyfriend, Paul Hargrave, told ABC News in a statement.

Crystal McDowell's uncle first reported her missing on August 26 - just as Harvey began its destructive tear through the coastal city of Rockport.

"That was when the storm was happening, that Saturday night", Hawthorne told the Chronicle.

In the aftermath of the storm, Crystal McDowell's partially submerged vehicle was found in a motel parking lot near Interstate 10, the newspaper reported. But McDowell and her former husband had been arguing frequently, according to Hargrave.