Woman charged with murder claims she was trying to lift 80-year-old mom from ground, records show

Daniela Hurtado Image
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
$1M bond set for woman accused of strangling 80-year-old mother
Suzette Kefauver is accused of using a gait belt to strangle her 80-year-old mother, who died at the northeast Harris County home they share.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Harris County woman is accused of using a belt used to assist people from a bed to a wheelchair to strangle her mother, who died just before last weekend.

A hearing officer set Suzette Kefauver's bond at $1 million on Tuesday night during probable cause court.

Kefauver was charged with first-degree felony murder.

Kefauver, 59, is accused of killing her mother, Vivian, on Friday, Nov. 17.

Authorities said the two lived together at a home on Forest Knoll Drive in northeast Harris County when things turned deadly. The suspect told deputies she cared for her mom for a year.

"The state notes that a white ligature mark believed to be caused by a gait belt was observed in the front of the complainant's neck," a state's prosecutor said in court on Tuesday.

Court documents state the 80-year-old victim suffered a fractured neck and severed spinal cord. Investigators said she died from blunt force trauma to the neck, and the case is being ruled a homicide.

Documents show the victim had signs of strangulation and bruises around her neck. According to records, the victim was sitting in the living room drinking a shake. The suspect is accused of telling authorities that when she came back into the living room, her mother was on the floor, and she tried to pick her up by grabbing her by the neck and pulling her up.

Investigators said the suspect told deputies she attempted to do this several times and realized her mother might not be breathing.

Documents show the suspect asked a neighbor for help, who told her to call 911. The neighbor told authorities the suspect kept saying she didn't hurt her mom and that the marks on her neck weren't from abuse, remarks she told investigators were unsolicited.

"She has been cooperative and has hired an attorney indicating she's prepared to show up for court," the defense counsel said.

Documents show that doctors believe a gait belt is associated with the injuries and is thought to be involved in the making of the ligature marks on the victim.

The 228th District Court will hear this case.

A hearing officer on Tuesday night said that if Kefauver bonds out, she will need to do electronic monitoring.

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