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Thursday
Jan022014

Search for Missing Pregnant Mom Yields Body

Harris County Sheriff's Office(HARRIS COUNTY, Texas) -- A Texas diving team has recovered a body believed to be that of a missing, pregnant 26-year-old Texas woman who is thought to have been a victim of foul play.

Melissa Rene Sowders disappeared the evening of Dec. 26. She was last seen at a McDonald's restaurant on Interstate 45 in Harris County, where she was supposed to meet her ex-husband, Matthew Sowders, and their youngest daughter, according to the Harris County Sheriff's office.

Divers recovered the body in a creek close to Matthew Sowders' home. She was two months pregnant with boyfriend Jason Sanford's baby.

Detectives have questioned Matthew Sowders in connection with his ex-wife's disappearance. At this point he has not been named as a suspect in the case, but authorities are combing his truck for evidence.

Relatives say Sowders, who had three children with Michelle, abused her.

"He wasn't ever abusive to the kids, only to Melissa," Melissa's cousin Michelle Bierman told ABC News. "She would never meet Matt at his home or her home. She wanted some place that was public."

Bierman believes Sowders took Melissa back to his home, or directly to the creek after their meeting at McDonald's.

"Everything they found is right next to Matt's house. The creek is pretty much his backyard," Bierman said.

Detectives told ABC affiliate KTRK that Matthew Sowders was not cooperating with the investigation. His attorney has denied he played any role in his estranged wife's disappearance, KTRK reported.

"Everybody in the family is just torn up." Bierman said. "All we think about is getting her home so we can give her a proper burial."

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