Houston has suffered worst flooding and destruction in the wake of Hurricane Harvey that hit the city and the surrounding areas very hard. Dozens of people have died in the worst flooding that area has experienced in decades and around fifty thousand homes have been partially or completely destroyed in it.
Every story of disappearance and every news of death of a person is heart wrenching for people who have lost their near and dear ones. As the water receded, the rescuers are trying to reach out every home impacted in the devastating floods.
But the story of Crystal McDowell is different. A realtor based in Houston suburbs of Baytown area in Texas is reportedly missing even before the Hurricane Harvey hit the town.
While the woman who is mother of 8 and 5 year old children, was very concerned about the safety of her children and herself, she went to pick up her children from her ex-husband’s home on 25 August, she never came back. Her ex husband’s home was not more than 18 miles away from her residence where she lived with her boyfriend, but she never returned.
While talking about the sequence of events, her boyfriend Paul Hargrave says, “She texted me to say road conditions were good around 8:30 a.m.”.
It was the last communication from the 37-year old woman who worked as a real estate agent. It is important to note that it was the time when Hurricane Harvey was yet to hit the area. She was set to meet one of her clients Friday afternoon, but didn’t appear for the meeting. Later she was reportedly missing by one of her close relatives.
Ever since her disappearance, a frantic search is on for her whereabouts. Nonetheless, despite all their efforts it was impossible to make any headway in her search. As the water level rose, survival became the most important thing for city residents and all other tasks became secondary.
In the meantime the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office launched a missing person investigation and posted information about the case on social media, but the department and many others in southeast Texas are overwhelmed with storm response.
In the meantime the woman’s boyfriend Hargrave and her relatives took to social media to spread the word about the missing woman. They plastered her photo, and a description of her black Mercedes, on Facebook.
Later, her car was spotted partially submerged in water outside a Motel 6 in Mont Belvieu. The car was submerged in water, but the license plate was visible and a match for McDowell’s. “I immediately tried to get there, but the flood waters were just too high,” Hargrave said.
Her relatives approached her former husband who showed them a text message from her. “He showed me a message on his phone where she said she was going to get the kids and go to Dallas. I have reservations about believing that she sent that message,” Walters said. But they are not ready to buy if this was a message from her.
In the meantime Walters said, “I have strong feelings about what’s happened but I’d rather not voice them right now”.
Crystal Seratte McDowell’s uncle says, “This happened before the storm, which we think is really important for people to know…And now with all the flooding and everything down here, we feel even more helpless.”