A pregnant woman, murdered by her estranged husband, led to charges being brought against Matthew Sowders, 28, of Harris County, Texas. Sowders was arrested Thursday night and charged today with murdering his wife, Melissa Sowders, and her unborn child, reports Click2Houston.com on Jan 3.
Detectives said Melissa’s body was recovered by the Texas EquuSearch diving team in the creek behind Matthew’s home. Shortly after the body was found, the charges were brought against Matthew. The capital murder charge, if a conviction is made, carries the death penalty in Texas.
The 26-year-old Sowders had been missing since the day after Christmas. Family said she was last seen with Matthew at a McDonald's restaurant.
"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 stated when Matthew appeared at his probable cause hearing today.
The Sowders have four other children together, who are in the custody of Matthew’s parents. The unborn child was not Matthew’s but belonged to Melissa’s boyfriend, Jason Sanford.
ABC News says that court documents claim a witness may have seen Melissa’s body on the floor of Matthew’s apartment.
“According to court documents, a witness told investigators she went to Sowders' apartment the day Melissa Sowders disappeared, and when he opened the door, the witness saw what appeared to be a woman's feet and lower legs lying on the floor of the apartment. She said Sowders shut the door before she saw anything else,” ABC News writes.
Sowders attorney Dustan Neyland claims his client is completely innocent.
"He is maintaining his innocence. It was a shock to be charged and arrested without a cause of death determination. He is not guilty of this charge," Neyland said.
Melissa’s sister, Amber Newsom, said the couple agreed to meet at McDonalds to discuss divorce details and custody of their four children.
"I don't know why somebody could be so evil and do this to her,” Newsom said.