HARRIS COUNTY - Volunteers with Texas EquuSearch spent hours combing the murky waters of Cypress Creek but still found no sign of a pregnant mother of four. Family members said Melissa Sowders disappeared after meeting with her estranged husband the day after Christmas.
"It's just hard not knowing," said Michelle Bierman, Sowders' cousin.
Family members said Sowders was meeting her estranged husband and their four daughters. Family members said the couple was in the midst of a divorce and still hashing out custody of their daughters. Sowders' estranged husband has never spoke publicly about her disappearance. He has now hired an attorney.
"I can't comment on the last contact because I am not aware of the last contact, we haven't gone into detail. As far as I'm concerned this is still a missing person's investigation. Anything that the police has told the media is probably as much knowledge as I have or am willing to share," said attorney Dustan Neyland. "Obviously this is a family time, the family is going through a lot of stress, they love Melissa very much and hopes she returns safe. They just didn't fell the need to go to the media and tell them that."
As volunteers with Texas EquuSearch used SONAR to scan the waters of Cypress Creek, Sowders current boyfriend kept vigil over the search.
"It's tough, it's hard," said Jason Sanford. "You know there's a lot of questions with no answers to them, and it's just waiting, you know we're waiting."
Sanford said he has trouble going to the home he shared with Sowders, who he said is also the mother of his unborn child.
"It's hard going in and seeing that and seeing her things and not knowing where she's at," said Sanford. "Not having any of the answers to those questions it's tough."
Sanford said he last spoke to Sowders as she was just about to meet with her estranged husband at a McDonald's not far from where searchers have focused their efforts. Sanford said when he didn't hear from Sowders after that meeting he called her cell phone and immediately got her voicemail message. Her car was later found abandoned in the parking of a Kroger.
"From right then that's when I started worrying, when she didn't answer because she never turns her phone off, never," said Sanford.
Sheriff's investigators and search volunteers have never specifically said why they are concentrating their efforts on Cypress Creek, but said they will continue searching the creek on Thursday.
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