Realtor finds apparent homicide victim while showing house, officials say

CHAMBERS COUNTY, Texas – An investigation is underway after a real estate agent found a body inside a house she was showing to a prospective client, according to Chambers County authorities.

What happened

On Friday, officials with the Chambers County Sheriff's Office said the real estate agent reported the finding at a home in the 8000 block of Tri City Beach Road in the western part of the county.

Due to the road conditions in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Imelda, 58-year-old Ralph Lee Machala's body was flown by helicopter from Chambers County to Beaumont.

The body

Authorities said Machala's body was found wearing blue jean shorts and an orange T-shirt.

Officials said they believe he had been dead for several days at the time of the discovery.

Machala died of a single gunshot wound, authorities said.

Authorities said he appeared to have been killed during an act of violence and his death is being investigated as a homicide.

Evidence suggests Machala was killed at another location then brought to the home where he was found by the realtor, according to the Chamber's County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said investigators believe Machala's body was dumped at the location either during or just before Tropical Storm Imelda hit the area.

Machala was from the Crosby area and was the owner of Pooky's Tavern, a p\opular local establishment, authorities said.

What's next

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Chambers County Sheriff's Office at 409-267-2500 or Crime Stoppers at 844-860-8477.

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