Families in agony as police investigate 2 murder cases without bodies

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police are dealing with two very unusual cases: two men arrested for murders, but the victim's bodies have not been found.

It's been one month since Jennifer Marie Sanchez was first reported missing. Her case is now a homicide, and her estranged husband is in custody.

Joey Leos Sanchez is charged with her murder after three previous charges for assaulting her. Police believe he picked her up from her north Houston apartment, then somehow killed her. The two were spotted on surveillance cameras inside a bar the night Jennifer vanished.

But this case is not nearly over: Jennifer is still missing.

"The days go by, every day, every day we don't know anything. We don't know what he did with her, what happened or anything," said Jennifer's mother, Ofelia Gomez.

For the mother of Brittany Burfield, who disappeared on June 25, the pain is still raw.

"We were very close, Brittany and I were very close. I really miss her, a lot," Tricia Valentine said.

Alex Haggerty was arrested and charged for Brittany's murder. Police say he killed her after she kicked him out of her apartment. He had been subletting a room for less than four weeks.

Police believe Haggerty killed her after stealing her car, cell phone and tablet.

They say he likely put her body in the trunk of her car. They say he told several family members he killed Brittany.

These are two separate cases with two separate homicide detectives facing the same rare circumstance.

"It's relatively unusual to have a case with no body," said Detective Michael Burrow, with the Houston Police Homicide Division.

"It's a tremendous challenge because you don't have the body, so you are missing evidence, physical evidence," said Detective Ken Fregia.

The victim's families have posted flyers and canvassed neighborhoods. Texas EquuSearch has spent hours searching through abandoned houses and fields.

Even though the suspects are arrested and charged, both are being held without bond, and we're told they are not cooperating with police.

Without their loved ones' bodies, two mothers are now living in agony.

"I'm not going to ever see her face again. I don't know what condition her body is in," Gomez said.

They are unable to move forward with funerals and find closure.

"We're trying to wait until we find her body. If it goes on a whole lot longer, we may go ahead and have a memorial service," Valentine said.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of the bodies of Jennifer or Brittany, call Houston Police.

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