Fired employee accused in woman's death

Family members reported Leesa Nascimento, 49, missing when she failed to show up for work

July 13, 2010 12:13:42 PM PDT
Authorities believe they have a man in custody who fatally shot a flower shop owner in Fort Bend County. Lorenza Sam, 31, is charged with murder in the death of Leesa Nascimento, 49. Family members reported Nascimento missing on Wednesday evening, July 7, when she didn't show up for work. Deputies with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office searched Nascimento's Sienna Plantation home and made several unsuccessful attempts to locate her vehicle.

On the morning of July 9, Sugar Land Police recovered a body found in a lake located at Lakebend at Sugar Creek near Southwest Freeway and Sugar Creek Blvd. The Galveston County Medical Examiners Office conducted an autopsy and confirmed the identification of the deceased woman as Leesa Nascimento. Nascimento died as a result of an apparent gunshot wound.

On Saturday, July 10, Nascimento's vehicle was found abandoned in a remote area of Binville Parish, Louisiana. As the investigation progressed, Fort Bend County Detectives interviewed friends and witnesses and developed Sam as a suspect. Fort Bend Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for murder with a $1,000,000 bond. Sam was arrested in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Sam is a former employee of Nascimento, who owned a flower shop in Sugar Land, Occasions by Cindy. Investigators say Nascimento accused Sam of stealing from the shop and her home, then fired him. Eyewitnesses say Sam threatened to "get her back." Authorities say Sam shot the Nascimento in the face then dumped her body in the lake behind the flower shop.

Sam is currently booked in the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Pascagoula, Mississippi and at some point will be extradited to the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office Detention Facility.