The arrival of Hurricane Harvey in Texas was associated with a few criminal charges that seemed eerily tied to the massive storm’s wind and rain-making violence. In one case, a woman disappeared on the day that Harvey hit the mainland, and she did not reappear until her corpse was found two weeks later in a marshy woodland in Baytown. Authorities have charged her ex-husband with the felony of killing her, allegedly in a rage of domestic violence initiated by his need to control his ex-wife.
The 37-year-old woman left her male companion on Aug. 25, saying that she was going to pick up her children at the ex-husband’s house. She did not reappear and was reported missing the next day. Several of the woman’s friends and family pointed to the suspect’s need to control her and the children, according to police.
The authorities found the woman’s car partially submerged at a Motel 6 near an interstate highway. They eventually traced her cell phone ping to the corpse’s marshy resting spot. While the search was being conducted, police reportedly had 9 or 10 suspects on their list. They reportedly came to focus on the ex-husband due to talks with the woman’s friends and during a “candid” interview that he had with police.
Defense counsel has a daunting investigative task ahead due to the interweaving of the hurricane’s destructive force and the resulting loss of communications during the period of the search. Counsel will look to the other 9 or 10 persons suspected of the capital felony to see what each of them may have to hide regarding these events. Gossip and bad characterizations by persons who sympathized with the victim over her ex-husband are not direct evidence of anything. This is admittedly a case of circumstantial evidence, and it appears that the prosecution may have a tough road ahead under Texas law to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Source: abcnews.go.com, “Texas man arrested in ex-wife’s disappearance day of Harvey”, Sept. 10, 2017