Texas man accused of strangling ex-wife on eve of Hurricane Harvey ‘knew exactly what he was doing,’ her boyfriend says

he Texas man accused of killing his ex-wife on the eve of Hurricane Harvey “knew exactly what he was doing,” the victim’s boyfriend says.

Steven McDowell tearfully confessed to strangling real estate agent Crystal McDowell, whose body was found in a marshy wooded area Saturday in Baytown.

Crystal McDowell, who was 37, disappeared on Aug. 25, the day Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

“I think he knew the storm was coming in and this would help cover his tracks,” her beau Paul Hargrave told ABC 13. “I think I had a lot to do with his decision to do this and I can’t help but feel responsible for that.”

Steven McDowell, charged with murder, remained in jail on $500,000 bond. He appeared shaken and teary-eyed during a court appearance on Tuesday.

“He is a little emotional, but he said very little,” Sheriff Brian Hawthorne told ABC 13. “He has been 100% cooperative. He was a person of interest as were others and every person involved, including Mr. McDowell, has been very cooperative.”

The McDowells were divorced in June, but Crystal was living with 44-year-old Steven and their two kids because work was being done on her home.

The children were in the home at the time of the murder, but were in a different room.

Crystal McDowell began dating Hargrave a few weeks before she was killed. Hawthorne told the Houston Chronicle that investigators are still looking into a possible motive.

“He was a great father,” neighbor Doris Bell told ABC 13of the accused killer. “He had the kids all the time.”

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