Crystal McDowell’s body has been found. Her ex husband charged with murder.
Steven McDowell, 44, was placed into custody and arraigned on homicide charges Saturday after the body of Crystal Seratte McDowell, 37, was discovered in a wooded area in Chambers County.
BAYTOWN, Texas – Human remains believed to be those of a Baytown realtor who has been missing for nearly two weeks have been found, according to Texas EquuSearch.
Guys the words she typed, “I’ve never been so Happy as I am right now. God is so good” is what got her killed.
His ego was just totally crushed. She destroyed him with that post.
He saw blood. And I said this from the beginning. He was jealous. We had no proof, but come on. Ugh this is terrible. I wanted this to be a hoax.
But this man claimed to love her. My goodness this is sad. His silence was everything. It spoke volumes.
To take a mother away from her child. How could he do this? Was there a safe way to leave this relationship for her?
Every one deserves happiness. Especially if you’re a good person. I went into detail about this couple who was going through a very complicated situation. This was difficult for everyone. And with Crystal not getting Any younger, she more than likely didn’t want to wait. She didn’t want to wait to be Happy. And perhaps that happiness she was feeling was all attributed to Paul Hargrave.
What a horrible place this situation puts him. I honestly couldn’t tell from looking at their photos, but there was one particular photo of him beside her and I said, HE DID IT, and I told my family that. His eyes were wild and they didn’t have the softness that they used to have. I studied all of their photos.
You can see I was up at 2:30 a.m looking at everything. I take these blogs seriously. This photo says a lot. And as she is beside him, he should look softer but he doesn’t. I cropped her out so that I could look in his eyes. And there it was.
Steve McDowell is described by Friends of Crystal McDowell’s as Quiet and mysterious. And they consider that a red flag that he didn’t seem to have any family or friends of his own.
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As soon as they heard she was missing, her friends knew.
Crystal McDowell wasn’t swamped in the storm. She hadn’t eloped. And she wasn’t lost.
“I knew immediately she was deceased,” said longtime friend Morgan Raimondi.
But it took police more than two weeks to confirm what the 37-year-old’s loved ones already feared.
On the heels of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, search crews combed the Baytown area for four days before they finally made a gruesome discovery Saturday afternoon in a wooded area in western Chambers County.
Sheriff Brian Hawthorne did not release details about the Realtor and former stewardess’s suspected cause of death, but authorities Saturday charged her ex-husband, 44-year-old Steve McDowell, with murder.
“When Steve decided that if he couldn’t have her, nobody else could he also made the decision for her children, her family and her friends,” Raimondi said of the suspected killer, even before charges were finalized. “He took her away from all of us because of his one selfish act.”
McDowell vanished on Aug. 25, after telling her boyfriend she was headed to her ex-husband’s house near Mont Belvieu to pick up her children, ages 8 and 5. The visit wasn’t unusual; although the divorce had been finalized a few months earlier, the well-liked Realtor was living at her ex’s house while her Baytown townhome was under renovation.
But when her family didn’t hear from her again by the following day, her worried uncle called authorities to report her missing.
“That was when the storm was happening, that Saturday night,” Hawthorne said. “And then, obviously, it engulfed all of us Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.”
The waterlogged roads and ongoing downpour hampered search efforts, though eventually McDowell’s partially submerged car turned up at a Motel 6 near Interstate 10. The last ping from her cell phone was traced back to a marshy area in Baytown within a couple days of her disappearance, Hawthorne said.
By Sept. 2 — more than a week after she vanished — the storm had cleared enough for search crews to scour parts of Baytown near the final cell phone ping. But after coming up empty-handed, Texas EquuSearch called off the hunt “until further, credible information becomes available to law enforcement investigators.”
As the days dragged on, the persons of interest list ballooned to nine or 10 people, including her uncle, her new boyfriend and the ex-husband, Hawthorne said.
All the while, her friends worried.
Raimondi reflected on her limited interactions with Steve McDowell, a man she described as “quiet” and “mysterious.”
“I know nothing about his family, his parents, his siblings,” she said. “He doesn’t seem to have any friends at all and that’s definitely a red flag I never thought about till recently.”
But the missing woman’s effusive Facebook posts in the days before her disappearance didn’t hint at any problems.
I’ve never been happier in my whole life than I am right now,” she wrote two days before she vanished. “God is so good.”
Distraught family members called in a private investigator, who bemoaned the late start on the case.
“I was called a week after she was already missing — but nobody could do anything because of the storm,” said Carla Edwards of Unlimited Investigations & Research Services. “The first 48 hours is the most crucial — and we started four days past the 48 hours.”
Then on Thursday, EquuSearch relaunched its hunt, dispatching 40-some volunteers on foot and in ATVs to comb the Cedar Bayou area suggested by the Chambers County sheriff.
But the initial efforts were no more successful than the earlier attempt.
“We are going back tomorrow, so that pretty well tells the story,” search coordinator David White said Thursday evening.
The next day, crews shifted their search area and tried again. But ultimately it was the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers who found her.
“This case was about trying to bring Crystal McDowell home and we’ve made that happen,” Hawthorne said at a grim press conference Saturday night.
Her friends and family shared their grief online and in a flurry of phone calls, remembering the woman they knew as a playful mother and life of the party.
“We both kinda made this pact where we said we would stay 5 years old forever,” Raimondi said. “We just wanted to stay child-like.”
There’s nothing to LIKE about the story other than her family can get closure knowing that she’s home with them, they can lay her to rest. And that her killer will be brought to justice.