Sheriff: Realtor's murder unravels in tearful confession by ex-husband

Monday, September 11, 2017 07:49PM
Investigators said a woman's ex-husband has confessed to her death in Baytown.


BAYTOWN, Texas - We are learning new details about a Baytown realtor's final days of life, including living with the man accused of killing her.

The Chambers County Sheriff's Office said details about Crystal McDowell's murder began to emerge this weekend after a tearful confession by her ex-husband.

Steven Wayne McDowell, 44, is charged in Crystal's murder, who went missing before Hurricane Harvey's arrival.

After several days of questioning, Steven McDowell made a "tearful, remorseful confession," according to Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne, telling investigators he killed his ex-wife, Crystal McDowell.

"Once we started the investigation, there were a number of family and friends who expressed concerns about the ex-husband," Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne told Eyewitness News that Crystal, a realtor and former flight attendant, divorced her husband in June of this year.

The sheriff said she was still living with her ex, in his new home for the time being.

WATCH: Officials give update in Baytown realtor's death
Ex-husband charged in connection to death of Baytown woman


"A lot of that was so she had access to the children. The children were primarily staying with Steve," Hawthorne said.

Crystal planned on moving back into the home the couple formerly shared, after she finished having it remodeled.

On March 20th, Crystal called police after Steven made threats to hurt himself and to hurt their children, Lt. Steve Dorris with Baytown Police Department said.

Dorris said Crystal told police she was concerned because she received a call from an employee at least one child's school saying Steven never dropped off the child.

Steven returned both children unharmed to Crystal the following day, and no charges were filed against Steven.

Three weeks before she went missing, she started dating another man, according to investigators.

Sheriff Hawthorne said he is not ready to talk about possible motives.

"There had been some tension and stress, and had been some potential disagreements," Hawthorne said.

He's waiting on the results of the autopsy to determine cause of death.

Steven McDowell is set to appear in court in Chambers County tomorrow.

Foul play may be involved in Baytown realtor's disappearance
Foul play may be involved in Baytown realtor's disappearance
TIMELINE: The Crystal McDowell murder case
  • August 25: Crystal McDowell last seen at boyfriend's home
  • August 26: Flooding from Hurricane Harvey hits Houston area
  • August 29: McDowell's Mercedes found in flooded motel parking lot
  • September 2: Active search for McDowell begins
  • September 9: McDowell's body found in wooded area near Needlepoint Road
  • September 9: Steven McDowell, victim's ex-husband, charged with murder


Ex-husband charged in death of Baytown realtor
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