Crystal McDowell told her boyfriend she was fleeing Houston ahead of Hurricane Harvey, but no one has heard from the real estate agent since Aug. 25. Police are still searching for her.
The last time anyone had heard from McDowell—a sales associate with Virginia Malone & Associates in Baytown, Texas—was “about 24 hours before the worst of the catastrophic hurricane hit the Houston area,” CBS News reports.
McDowell, 37, was scheduled to show a new construction property in Crosby, Texas, that morning but the appointment was canceled due to the impending storm. Her uncle Jeff Walters reported her as a missing person on Saturday. The Chambers County Sheriff Office has posted information on social media but the department has been overwhelmed with responding to the hurricane, CBS News reports.
“We are hampered by some of the flood issues, but we are as aggressive as ever trying to locate and find Crystal McDowell,” Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said on “CBS This Morning.” However, Hawthorne said he is “very, very confident” that McDowell is not a storm victim.
On the morning of Aug. 25, McDowell told her boyfriend that she was going to pick up her children at her ex-husband’s home. He lives about 18 miles away from Baytown.
“She texted me to say road conditions were good around 8:30 a.m.,” Paul Hargrave, her boyfriend, told CBS News.
McDowell’s car was found partially submerged in flooded waters outside a Motel 6 in Mont Belvieu. Two people who were spotted inside McDowell’s car have been detained by police and were taken in for questioning.
“They do not believe they were involved with Crystal’s disappearance,” Hargrave said.
The family has increased its reward to $15,000 for information on McDowell's whereabouts and the arrest of any individuals involved, according to the Missing Pieces Network.
“We just want her found safe and as quickly as possible,” Hargrave said.
Source: “Search for Houston-Area REALTOR® Who Vanished Before Hurricane Harvey,” CBS News (Sept. 1, 2017)