DNA Evidence Helps Investigators Solve Old Murder Case

Harris County investigators say DNA evidence led them to a suspect in a 2004 murder case. They found that suspect behind bars.


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The victim in the case was 36-year-old Shonda Alexander, a military veteran who helped raise six children. But investigators say Alexander fell on hard times and was addicted to crack cocaine.  She was last seen alive on July 21, 2004 near Tidwell and Lockwood, an area that was frequented by prostitutes. Sheriff Adrian Garcia says Alexander’s body was found a few hours later.

“This woman met a very violent and very tragic death, untimely death. But thankfully science was catching up.”

Deputies interviewed numerous suspects but the case went cold until earlier this summer. That when a DNA sample was taken from an inmate who was booked into a south Texas prison on unrelated felony theft charges. That sample went into a database.

“The current sampling from this individual concided with our collection in 2004.”

Based on the new evidence, sheriff’s investigator Bobby Minchew paid a surprise prison visit to 45-year-old Troy McWhorter.

“The results of that interview combined with the physical evidence that we have with his DNA on multiple places on the victim’s body, led to a charge of capital murder.”

Alexander’s mother and other family members watched the announcement via Skype from their home in Oklahoma. They say they miss her and want justice served.

McWhorter will now be transferred to Houston to face trial.

Sheriff Garcia says this is the 13th cold case they’ve solved since he took office in 2009. 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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