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Pregnant woman murder: Man allegedly strangles wife after learning child not his

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Evidence presented at a probable cause hearing Friday indicates that a Texas man may have murdered his estranged wife after learning that she was pregnant with her fifth child -- a child reportedly not the alleged killer's. The Inquistr reported Jan. 4 that Matthew Sowders, 28, according to authorities, strangled Melissa Sowders, 26, his wife of eight years, before hiding her body in a nearby creek.

“You’re here on a charge of capital murder, and I believe it involves the murder of two people, including an unborn child,” a court official pronounced at the hearing, ABC News reported (via Yahoo News).

Prosecutors offered testimony from two separate witnesses who claim that Sowders confessed to them his role in the pregnant woman's murder. "The defendant came to her residence on December 26," prosecutors said at the probable cause hearing on Saturday, "she stated he was soaking wet and his truck was covered in mud. He told her she strangled her to death after he pulled a gun on her. He said he stuffed her into a large black trash can and transported to Cypress Creek and there he submerged her body.”

In addition to the damning testimonies, another witness claimed that on the day Melissa Sowders went missing, her estranged husband came to the door shortly after the murder is believed to have taken place. The neighbor observed Matthew Sowders in an agitated state. "She observed what she believed to be the feet and lower legs of a female in the apartment… the defendant then shut the door before reportee could see any additional parts of the body.”

Melissa Sowders half-naked submerged body was pulled from Cypress Creek a week later, according to KHOU in Houston. She was virtually unrecognizable, a pregnant female and the victim of a strangling. She was identified by her tattoos, which were described to police by her boyfriend, Jason Sanford, father of the unborn baby. One of the tattoos, placed just above the waistline, read "Matt," the name of her estranged husband.

Matthew Sowders was arrested for the pregnant woman's murder Thursday outside his parents' home.

KHOU also reported that Sowders was denied bail on Friday.

Sowders' capital murder charge could be amended to two counts of murder, given that he allegedly murdered a pregnant woman. Either way, the 28-year-old father of four could get life in prison for the alleged murder or his children's mother. He could also get the death penalty.

Amber Newsom, sister to the deceased, says she believes Sowder murdered her sister after he saw a photo of the ultrasound of the baby. Melissa, she said, was two months pregnant. She also believes her sister's estranged husband was incensed at seeing photos of Melissa in lingerie.

"I hope he gets the death penalty or life in prison for taking away my only sister," Newsom told KHOU.

Sowders is being held without bond at the Harris County Jail.

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