Fiancée of murder victim shocked to learn suspect is tied to 2021 suspended sex assault case

Miya Shay Image
Saturday, April 20, 2024
Murder suspect, Damontez Sharp, in shooting outside Alief area club is tied to 2021 sexual assault case suspended by HPD
The family of the late Arkavious Parks is wondering as to whether their loved one would be alive today if the Houston Police Department had never suspended the original case in 2021.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In the ongoing Houston police suspended case scandal, a man tied to an unsolved sexual assault case is currently in jail for an unrelated murder case.

Now the murder victim's family is wondering if their loved one still be alive if the Houston Police Department never suspended the original case.

In July 2023, Arkavious Parks planned to celebrate his best friend's birthday on Saturday night. His fiancée, Janel Cox, helped pick out his outfit, and they planned a family day with their baby boy on Sunday.

However, Cox would never see Parks alive again.

"What would be different? He would be here. We would be planning our wedding, and he would be here for his son," Cox, who is now raising their son alone with the support of extended family, said.

That Saturday night, Parks intervened when a man was arguing with a woman outside the club where he was attending the birthday party. He was shot in the process and died at the scene.

SEE PREVIOUS STORY: 1 killed, 2 others shot during fight outside after-hours club in Alief area, deputies say

Cox thought she would get some justice when a man was quickly arrested and charged with Parks' murder. But on Friday, Cox was shocked to learn from ABC13 that the man charged in her fiancé's murder is now linked to a 2021 sexual assault case.

That sexual assault case never got investigated by Houston police because it was among the thousands suspended using the code for lack of personnel.

"If things had been taken care of in 2021, he would have been here for his mother, who actually had surgery today, and he would have been there for his younger siblings, and he would have been here for me and his son," Cox said.

According to HPD's records, the sexual assault was reported in June 2021 at Memorial Hermann Southwest. In January 2022, there was an out-of-state Combined DNA Index System hit on the DNA collected during the sexual assault exam.

However, that connection was apparently never followed up on.

Then, in July 2023, Parks was killed.

"You're stacking up victims. If you take care of a case the right way the first time, you're not going to stack on victims," Cox said. "You're not going to have multiple families hurt that are having to bury a father, a brother, a sister, and a mother."

Houston police now say they have found the victim of the sex assault that was first reported at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital.

She is scheduled for a forensic interview soon. The man linked to that case, for now, has only been charged with the murder of Parks.

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