Search for missing pregnant mother in NW Harris County enters third day

An underwater sonar image has kept search teams busy checking one area of Cypress Creek and I-45 for Melissa Sowders, 26
December 31, 2013 4:06:46 PM PST
Search crews were back out Monday looking for clues in the disappearance of a missing mom in northwest Harris county.

An underwater sonar image has kept search teams busy checking one area of Cypress Creek and I-45 all day. Now Melissa Renee Sowder's family told me they know their efforts now have moved from rescue to recovery.

"We're not leaving this spot. I can tell you that," Texas Equusearch founder Tim Miller said.

The intense search for the 26-year-old missing and pregnant mom came with some challenges and revelations along Cypress Creek on Monday.

Volunteers with Texas Equusearch are now in their third day boating, walking and driving through this area off I-45, hoping to find evidence leading them to Sowders.

"I think this is going to be recovery. This isn't going to be a rescue. I think all indications are unfortunately something has happened to her, you know. And I'm sticking my neck out on the line and I'm not saying if she's found, I'm saying when she's found. And I'm very, very optimistic we are going to get her found," Miller said.

Sowders, who's a mother of four and two months pregnant with another child, disappeared the day after Christmas, and detectives suspect foul play.

Family members say the young mother was supposed to meet her estranged husband at a nearby McDonald's on FM 1960 on Thursday. They haven't heard from Sowders since.

"We've tried to contact her ex's parents and ask them where the children were and they just tell us no comment and hang the phone up," Sowder's cousin, Michelle Bierman, said.

The first break in this case came late Friday night when investigators found the missing mom's car abandoned in a parking lot near Cypress Creek.

Search crews spent most of Monday targeting an area where sonar machines picked up an obscure image underwater.

"I'm very optimistic she's going to be found. I would hope it would be today, but if it's not, I'm optimistic she's going to be found," Miller said.

The search team had to take a break to replace a part on it's sonar machine.

Right now, Sowder's family is urging anyone with information about to woman to call Crime Stoppers.

Find Demond on Facebook at ABC13DemondFernandez or on Twitter at @demondfernandez

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