Police searching for man charged with murder of common-law wife

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Houston police are searching for a man who has been charged with murder in the death of his common-law wife.

Family members say mother of three, Rena Hodges, hadn't been heard from in several days when her body was found.

When they showed up to her apartment Thursday night, a member of the complex's security team went inside her unit.
That is when they found Hodges' body.

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Mother of three found shot to death

Ariel Thomas, Hodges's niece, says she was planning to leave her common-law husband, Jerald Dewayne Watt, 40.

"She was telling me how the relationship she was in. She was about to leave him. She was done and everything," Thomas said.
Hodges leaves behind three daughters, ages 14, 10 and 9. Those girls are now being cared for by family members.

"She was a loving person, she was beautiful inside and out," Thomas said. "It don't feel real at all, knowing I was just with her."

Police said the girls were not in the apartment when she was shot to death.

Investigators spent hours overnight taking photos inside the home. Police said there were no signs of forced entry.
Police say Watt could be driving in either a 2002 blue Ford Explorer with Texas license plates FJW-9847 or a 2010 white Nissan Versa with license plates 8KMWV.

Anyone with information on Watt's whereabouts is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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