Person of interest in custody after missing woman's clothing, items found at home in Third Ward

Texas EquuSearch volunteers resume search for Brittany Burfield

By Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor, Jake Reiner - Reporter, Jonathan Martinez - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - A person of interest was taken into custody after evidence possibly connected to the disappearance of 37-year-old Brittany Burfield was found Thursday at a home in the Third Ward area, police said.

Alex Haggerty was held on a $15,000 bond on an assault charge. Officials said the assault victim was not Burfield, but considered Haggerty a suspect in her disappearance.

Detectives said officers were executing a warrant in the area of a home when officers found clothing and personal items that could be linked to the Burfield case.

Officials said they are preparing for the worst.

"Now it appears the worst has happened. So time is not on our side," said Tim Miller, with Texas EquuSearch.

"We're preparing to find her, but we're also preparing for the worse also," said Ken Fregia, Houston Police Department homicide detective.

Texas EquuSearch volunteers began a search earlier this month in west Houston that lasted for more than a week. Burfield was last seen at her mother’s home, in Sugar Land, on June 25.

Members of her family said she wouldn't have left without telling them.

For the second day in a row, volunteers, search dogs and police are back scouring abandoned homes and thick bushes on Drew Street in the Third Ward. Officials said it's an area where Burfield was reported to be staying.

"Yesterday we located an acquaintance of Brittany's who lives here in Third Ward. At the residence, we found some of her personal property, some clothing items, some makeup kits, things like that," Fregia said. "I don't have any evidence that she's here. I don't have any evidence that she's not here, but we've got to do it, so this is a starting point and we've got to start here."

Detectives said they are holding the person of interest in custody on an unrelated charge. Officials said the man told them he last saw Burfield a few weeks ago and has no idea where she is now.

"I think he knows more than he's telling me, but again, maybe he'll get a conscience today and we'll sit down again and maybe he'll give me a little bit more information," Fregia said.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call the Houston Police Department at 832-394-1818 or EquuSearch at 281-309-9500.

Haggerty in court

Haggerty made multiple appearances before a judge Friday evening.

And while the prosecution was asking for a high bond amount, it was set of $15,000.

Haggerty was arrested on an assault charge stemming from an incident in April of this year when he allegedly choked a woman.

But because of questions and some confusion about the exact date of the incident, the first PC judge deciding they would not make a decision on the bond amount and leave that up to the next judge.

After more back and forth by that judge, she ultimately decided Haggerty's bond would be set at $15,000 along with a restraining order for the woman he allegedly assaulted.

All the while the prosecution was asking for a high bond amount, specifically at $100,000 saying Haggerty was a flight risk, a danger to the community and a suspect in a missing persons case.

That person is Burfield, an acquaintance of Haggerty, who has been missing now for nearly three weeks.

Haggerty was arrested not long after officers found clothing and personal items connected to the Burfield case at a home in Third Ward close to where the two lived together in the past.

While the search continues for Burfield, Haggerty may be out of jail if he posts bond.

"Mr. Haggerty, there is probable cause for your arrest on the charge of assault on a family member by impeding their breathing. The case is going to be assigned to the 177th District Court. All right, based upon facts of the case as presented here and what I can deduce from Mr. Haggerty's criminal record I'm going to set the bond here at $15,000," the judge said.

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