Estranged husband of missing woman arrested

Estranged husband of missing woman arrested

Credit: KHOU / Texas DPS

Melissa Sowders vanished the day after Christmas.


by Malini Basu / KHOU 11 News & staff

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 6:50 PM

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — The estranged husband of 26-year-old Melissa Sowders was arrested Thursday evening in Humble.

Matt Sowders is charged with capital murder in connection with the disappearance of his pregnant wife.

U.S. Marshals, Harris County Sheriff's deputies and members of the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force took Sowders into custody outside his parents' home.

They were waiting when Sowders walked out of the house with his father.

"Get on the ground," Marshals yelled and Sowder's father immediately complied.

"We were going to the bond place because we heard the warrant's been issued," Sowder's father said. "We were trying to comply."

Eqqusearch volunteers found a body in Cypress Creek Thursday morning where they've been searching for the missing woman.

An autopsy will likely be needed to determine if the victim is 26-year-old Melissa Sowders.

Sowders vanished last Thursday after dropping her boyfriend, Jason Sanford, off at work at 6:15 a.m. Deputies found her white Honda Accord Friday night on Interstate 45 near Richey Road.

Texas Equusearch had been searching the area along Cypress Creek since Saturday. Texas Equusearch would only say they had good reason to be at the location near Interstate 45.

Sanford said Sowders was supposed to go meet her ex-husband and their youngest daughter at the McDonald’s on FM 1960 near Kuykendahl Road.

"She told me, 'Okay, I'm here. He's here, I’m going to get off the phone.' Every time she had to meet with him to see her baby, she was always worried about it. He scares her," said Sanford.

Detectives confirm the ex-husband has been questioned but they have not named him as a suspect.

Meanwhile family members are holding onto memories. They shared surveillance video from their business of Sowders hours before her disappearance. It shows Sowders and her boyfriend Jason Sanford visiting his godparents for Christmas.

"I did tell her Christmas Day, 'You're working your way into my heart,'" said Crickitt Kreger, Sanford's godmother.

The couple gave Kreger a neck pillow.

"I know it seems silly, but I don't even want to use it. It's what her and Jason got me for Christmas," Kreger said.

If you have any information about the case, contact the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit at (713) 967-5810 or Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS.