BLOODSHED IN BAYTOWN: Recent high-profile murders

Monday, September 18, 2017 08:03AM
BLOODSHED IN BAYTOWN: Recent high-profile murders

BAYTOWN, Texas - In recent weeks, law enforcement in Baytown have taken on several high-profile murders that appeared to stem from domestic violence.

Here are the most recent cases under investigation. Suspects in each case are in custody.
Steven Coleman

The 32-year-old was last seen on Aug. 16 outside of his apartment in the 1700 block of James Bowie Drive. EquuSearch and Baytown police took part in the search for Coleman.

Authorities located a man's torso in a Chambers County landfill nearly a week later.

Court documents later revealed the man's live-in girlfriend, Cierra Alexis Sutton, as a suspect in his slaying.

The documents allege Sutton shot Coleman in the head as he slept moments after an argument. Sutton allegedly used a machete to hack up his body into smaller pieces that she could carry.

Sutton was seen on surveillance camera allegedly buying duct tape and a mattress pad with the victim's credit card. The man's remains were apparently dropped off at various dumpster sites in the area.

In an interview with detectives, one of Coleman's friends told detectives that the victim "told her on numerous occasions if he was ever to go missing, she needed to make sure police looked into [Sutton] as the cause."

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Crystal McDowell

Crystal McDowell's disappearance was somewhat interwoven with the larger tragedy of Hurricane Harvey. That was until, police say, the 38-year-old's ex-husband confessed to her murder.

According to authorities, the prominent realtor was last seen on Aug. 25 just before Harvey's landfall. At the time, McDowell was staying with her ex and their kids as her home was remodeled.

McDowell's Mercedes Benz was later located in a flooded motel parking lot four days later and after Harvey hit.

Investigators were suspicious of foul play, even though she was originally lumped in with those missing as a direct result of the storm. An active search began on Sept. 2.

On Sept. 9, McDowell's body was found in a wooded area.

According to the Chambers County Sheriff's Office, 44-year-old Steven Wayne McDowell tearfully confessed to strangling her, although no motive was immediately stated.

Investigators added the woman recently began dating another man.

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Julia Martinez

The most recent domestic violence case in Baytown involved Martinez, who police said was shot and killed in front of her children on Sept. 16.

Family members said her ex-husband Roy Garcia Jr. was supposed to move out of their home soon. They got into an argument when Martinez got into her SUV with her two kids.

Police said Garcia allegedly opened fire at his ex-wife.

Garcia left the scene in his truck and later surrendered to DPS troopers in San Antonio.

Garcia had been arrested before on suspicion of domestic violence. The victim's family claims there were more incidents.

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