Authorities Wednesday announced some closure for a family that has been waiting eight years for answers.
The sheriff's cold case detectives say the suspect was known by a lot of prostitutes in his northeast side neighborhood. But for eight years, they say his name never came up in the investigation until now.
The man you see in this booking photo is Troy McWhorter. And deputies say he's been holding a big secret for eight years. They say McWhorter's the man who killed Shonda Alexander back in July 2004 and dumped her body in a ditch in northeast Harris County.
"I never in my life would ever think nothing like that. I'm blown out of the water now," said neighbor Lillie McClendon.
Neighbors near McWhorter's northeast side home on Lockwood are shocked hearing about the capital murder charges he's now facing. Deputies say back in 2004, McWhorter was known for running prostitutes away from the area near his mom's home here. They say Alexander., a 36-year-old mother of six and an Army veteran who'd fallen on bad times, was one of them.
"This some bad news, I tell you. I can't believe it. I can't believe it, mister," said McClendon. "He was always like a child of mine. He raised up with my boys. I just can't believe it."
Alexander's body was found near these railroad tracks at Hirsch and Winfield. Detectives say the woman was sexually assaulted and strangled. They say McWhorter's DNA covered her body. Those DNA samples matched recent samples taken from the suspect who's in state prison on unrelated theft charges out of Corpus Christi.
Several of the victim's family members Skyped into Wednesday's news conference the sheriff and his cold case team held about the arrest, saying they just want closure.
"We just want justice served," the victim's family said.
McWhorter's neighbors and friends are still shaking their heads.
"God don't like ugly. We wasn't born here to do this," said neighbor Clifford Clark.
We spoke with several of McWhorter's relatives who say they are waiting to speak with him about the allegations. McWhorter, 45, is scheduled to be transferred from state prison here to the Harris County Jail next month.