The body of a missing Alabama woman, who had texted a friend that she felt “in trouble” after leaving a bar with two men, was discovered Friday in a shallow grave.
Investigators have confirmed the discovery of 29-year-old Paighton Houston's body behind a Hueytown home after receiving information Thursday about its possible location, WIAT reports.
The Trussville Police Department, Birmingham Police Department, Hueytown Police Department and Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the location Thursday evening and secured the area.
Bessmer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice Washington told The Trussville Tribune the body was discovered Friday wrapped in a sheet in the shallow grave.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will now conduct a death investigation to try to determine how the 29-year-old died.
“We have more questions than answers right now,” Chief Deputy David Agee said.
Houston was last seen Dec. 20 leaving the Tin Roof bar in Birmingham with two men, authorities said.
A short time later, she sent a concerning text message to a friend.
“If I call answer, I don’t know these people and I feel in trouble,” the text said, according to Houston’s mom Charlaine Houston, CNN reports.
After Paighton Houston’s body was discovered, her mother penned an emotional message on Facebook.
“Our family didn’t get the news we had hoped for but I am very grateful that Paighton is coming home,” she wrote. “We don’t have to go through the torture of not knowing what was happening to her or where she could be. God answered our prayers, he brought her home to us.”
The family is now able to “put closure” to the “nightmare” they’ve been living since the 29-year-old disappeared, she said.
“Our family appreciates all the prayers, love and support from the Trussville community and around the world for Paighton,” she wrote. “She touched the hearts of many in our efforts to bring her home and my heart is touched by everyone’s love for our family.”
Valerie Hicks, the chief assistant district attorney of Bessemer Cutoff, said investigators were led to the area after receiving a tip, WBMA reports.
The body was found in a “muddy, nasty” backyard area of a home that is not currently occupied, AL.com reports.
Neighbors told the news outlet that the home had been occupied by an elderly man but his family had moved him out of there some time ago.
“It’s always hard whenever you find the remains of a person because there are family members attached to those remains,” Washington said, according to AL.com. “Of course the most thing a family would want is to have their missing family member returned to them but we can’t give them that. The only thing we can do at this point is to try to give them justice.”
Agee said investigators plan to “work hard” to discover what happened to Houston in her final hours.
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