The family of a Houston real estate agent say she vanished just before Hurricane Harvey hit the area. Amid the horror unfolding in Texas as the rain continues to fall, the family of Crystal McDowell, 38, are still searching for her. In an appearance on NBC’s Dateline, McDowell’s uncle, Jeff, said that he wanted the public to know that his niece vanished before Harvey struck. The search has been difficult with public services stretched as they try to save people from the hurricane.
McDowell is a mother of two and lives in Baytown, around 30 miles east of Houston. Anybody with any information about McDowell’s whereabouts is asked to call Chambers County Police Department on 409-267-2500. McDowell is 5-foot-4-inches tall and weighs 120 pounds with blonde hair. Her uncle says, “We just want her home and her to be safe. We just really need help finding her.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. McDowell Was Last Heard From on August 25
In his interview with Dateline, McDowell’s uncle, Jeff Walters, said, “This happened before the storm, which we think is really important for people to know. And now with all the flodding and everything down here, we feel even more helpless.” He added that McDowell was last seen on August 25. That contact was in a message to Walters.
Jeff Walters told Dateline:
She had canceled a different appointment that morning because that closing couldn’t happen till the next week, but we aren’t sure if she made the other two appointments that day (August 25). We haven’t been able to see the files on her computer, so we don’t know who she was going to be with.Download Video Links
Walters has said that McDowell is usually active on social media and would not have gone this long without contacting family members. Especially given Hurricane Harvey.
2. As the Search Continues, McDowell’s Car Has Been Found
KSWO reported on the night of August 29 that McDowell’s car had been found. The station added that two people were being questioned by the FBI as a result of the found. The KSWO report also said that McDowell may have been seen on August 25 “near Baytown or Mount Belvieu.”
Dateline reports that McDowell’s computer was salvaged by investigators despite flood damage. That same report indicated that investigators were prepared for the fact that finding McDowell’s car may be difficult due to flooding.
Her cousin, Melissa Cherry told the Baytown Sun that McDowell had been driving a black Mercedes.
3. Although Steve McDowell Has Been Referred to as Her ‘Ex-Husband’; His Social Media Shows a Couple Very Much in Love
The Dateline report referred to McDowell’s husband as her ex-husband. On Steve McDowell’s Facebook page, he appears to still be together with his wife. His About section says the couple was married on April 14, 2007, and makes no mention of divorce. The couple has two young children together, a son and a daughter.
Jeff Walters told Dateline that McDowell had been living with her “ex-husband” in Baytown, Texas, while renovations were being done on her home. Walters said, “He said she had sent him a message saying she was coming to pick up the kids to go to Dallas, but she didn’t show. We aren’t sure she sent those message to him, though. She never told me of plans to go to Dallas for the storm.”
4. Her Cousin Says the Family Has Received Phone Calls Saying McDowell Has Been Kidnapped
Melissa Cherry told the Baytown Sun that numerous people have called the family claiming to have kidnapped McDowell. While some have tried to extort money from the family.
McDowell is a third generation real estate agent, according to her profile at Virginia Malone & Associates’ website. Her uncle told Dateline that prior to getting into real estate, McDowell had been a flight attendant with ExpressJet. Walters added he is a father figure to McDowell after he parents died when she was 11 years old.
KSWO reports that McDowell attended high school in the Duncan school district in Stephens County, Oklahoma.
5. There Are Multiple Confirmed Deaths at the Hands of Hurricane Harvey
At the time of writing, 27 people have died as a result of Hurricane Harvey, 26 in the U.S. and one in Guyana. Investigators are looking to speak to anyone who may have spoken to McDowell on August 24 or 25.