HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The body of a woman found dead on the side of the road over the weekend is that of 26-year-old Alexis Sharkey, police confirmed Monday.
Sharkey was a popular Houston Instagram influencer.
An investigation began Saturday after a Houston Public Works employee reported finding a woman's unclothed body around 8 a.m. in the 1000 block of Red Haw, near the Katy Freeway. HPD detectives said the employee was driving when they saw feet in the bushes.
Authorities said the woman had no visible injuries and believe her body had been there overnight.
Alexis's mother, Stacey Robinault, spoke with Eyewitness News from her hometown in northwestern Pennsylvania. Robinault remembered her daughter as a ray of sunshine who adored traveling the world.
"She was so excited about finding her way in the world. Even though we're from a small town and she loves coming home ... she wants to see the world, always wanted to see the world," said Robinault. "Alexis. She was literally a ray of sunshine from the beginning."
Robinault described Alexis as someone who was health conscious and loved selling organic health care products. She graduated from college with a major in biology.
"She loved, was successful at it," said Robinault. "What she had out there was who she was and what she believed in. She was my baby. She was my baby."
Alexis moved to Houston with her husband earlier this year, Robinault said.
"She always wanted to live in the warmth. She came down to Houston for one (reason), to be in the South. She loves being down there. She always wanted to be," said Robinault. "Her husband works internationally. That's a great hub. It was a perfect fit."
Robinault told ABC13 she wants justice for her daughter.
"I do. I do believe she was murdered. Yes. From what I've been able to gather as well as a mother's gut. I learned very young as a mom to trust my gut. It's not let me down," said Robinault. "We're very broken. We're very broken-hearted. It's just painful for someone so bright and having so much to offer ... just to be gone, to be snuffed out. I don't know why. I don't know why. The horrific nature of her last moments must've been ... I can't even. I can't even go there."
Over the weekend, Robinault told ABC13 that her daughter went missing on Friday. She said she had not spoken with Sharkey since just before Thanksgiving. She said the two were discussing Christmas plans on Wednesday.
In a Facebook post published by Robinault, she wrote, "It's with deeply broken hearts that Mike and I want to let you all know that Lexi's body has been found. We cannot begin to thank you all for your love and the kind words you've extended to our family!"
Robinault said her daughter's husband called the family to let her know Sharkey went missing. He hadn't heard from her since Friday.
"We were notified on Saturday that she was missing by her husband," she said. "(He) called us up to let us know, and that's when, of course, any parent goes into full panic mode."
Sharkey was known as an Instagram influencer, with more than 20,000 followers on the platform. According to friends, she was a mentor with a hair and skincare company called Monat.
An initial Facebook post published by Robinault, which features two photos of Sharkey, was shared more than 6,000 times.
Sharkey's cause of death is pending an autopsy by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
The case remains under investigation.
A friend shared on Instagram that a memorial for Sharkey will be held Thursday, Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. at Buffalo Bayou Park.
A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help raise money for funeral costs and to cover travel fees for her family.
If you have any information about Sharkey's death, you're asked to call the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
The video above is a report from this weekend about Sharkey's death, including the heartbreaking interview with her mother.