Tonight: 48 Hours Investigates The Disappearance of a Houston Real Estate Agent

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When real estate agent Crystal McDowell went missing, the community, still suffering from Hurricane Harvey’s wrath, responded in masse. Watch as 48 Hours digs deep into the story tonight. (Courtesy Photo)

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, first responders were left scrambling to help evacuate neighborhoods and keep some sense of order in the enormous city. But that didn’t keep police from searching for Crystal McDowell, a divorced mother of two, who was last seen leaving her boyfriend’s home on the morning of Aug. 25. McDowell was supposed to pick up her children, who were staying with her ex-husband, Steve McDowell. Steven said that Crystal never made it there.

Crystal, a real estate agent with Virginia Malone & Associates (her family’s brokerage) and devoted mother, was well known and loved on social media. Her disappearance triggered a huge response, with people searching for her despite the record amounts of rain and flooding throughout Baytown, where she lived, and the region at large. It’s a sad tale of double lives, jealousy, and the power of community, and you can see it all play out in 48 Hours‘ “Storm of Suspicion” tonight, Oct. 28, at 9 p.m. 

“As a real estate agent and a former flight attendant, Crystal touched so many lives all over the world. When she went missing, her friends and family mobilized in a way that really caught the media’s attention,” said 48 Hours producer and Dallas-area resident Claire St. Amant.  “Whenever 48 Hours is involved in a story, it means something tragic has occurred. But we do our best to honor the victims and tell their stories in a way that shows something positive can come out of a terrible situation. Justice is being served in Crystal’s case, and we will be there every step of the way as the case winds through the court system.” 

It’s heartbreaking to see two young girls lose their mother in such a way, but it’s heartening to see a community surround a family. 

“When you cover a missing person’s case, you always hope for the best but prepare for the worst,” St. Amant said. “In Crystal’s case, we were hopeful she’d be found alive, but as the days and weeks ticked by, we knew that was increasingly unlikely.” 

Tune in to see how it all played out tonight at 9 p.m. on CBS 11. Click here for a sneak peek of “Storm of Suspicion.”


Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jason Cutkelvin says

    hostile her devorsed husband and her uncle and question then unit no more no more.and then look them in the eyes for a long while they will feel uncomfortable and start talking piece by piece

  2. Cindy May says

    What a story that was. It’s crazy what people will do, and it’s even more tricky when someone goes missing during the chaos of a natural disaster. Something similar happened in New Orleans when a well-known business owner went missing. Some people see opportunity for bad things.

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