HOUSTON – An Austin woman whose body was found at a home near Jersey Village on Thursday died from strangulation, according to the website of the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office.
During a news conference Friday, Austin police Chief Brian Manley said detectives believe the body that was found in the trunk of a car at a home on Bo Jack Drive in the Rolling Fork neighborhood northwest of Houston is that of 33-year-old Heidi Broussard. Officials at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office later confirmed the identity of the body as Broussard and that she died from ligature strangulation.
Broussard and her newborn girl, Margot Carey, were reported missing Dec. 12.
Detectives said they received a tip Thursday that led them to the Bo Jack Drive home. Once there, investigators took a person they encountered outside into custody. That person has been described in reports as a “close friend” of Broussard.
Here’s a closer look at the case:
Baby also found
Manley said a baby who is in good health was also found at the home near Jersey Village. He said investigators believe the child is Margot, but DNA tests are being conducted to confirm the child’s identity.
The child has been placed in the custody of Child Protective Services, Manley said.
‘Close friend’ charged
NBC News reported that Broussard’s “close friend” lives at the Bo Jack Drive home, and neighbors also confirmed that the presumed girlfriend of the man who lives at the home moved in about a year ago.
According to a search of registration records, the vehicle at the home that was being searched by investigators is registered to 33-year-old Magen Fieramusca. A search of Harris County District Clerk records showed Fieramusca was being held on two counts of kidnapping and tampering with evidence, which were filed by Austin police. Those charges match the charges police said have been filed against the person who has been taken into custody in connection with the case.
Manley said authorities would not confirm the identity of the person taken into custody in order to protect the integrity of the investigation. He said the person is being held in jail on $600,000 bail, which matches the amount of bail listed for Fieramusca in court records.
Detective Brad Herries, of the Austin Police Department, said Broussard and Margot disappeared after she dropped off her son at school. Detectives said Broussard’s boyfriend contacted authorities after he picked up the boy from school, returned home and couldn’t find Broussard.
Authorities distributed information about Broussard and Margot to national missing persons databases and issued a be-on-the-lookout call about the disappearance, Herries said.
A tip hotline was established and information was received Thursday that led investigators to the Houston-area home, Herries said.
Manley said investigators are still working to determine Broussard’s movements from the time she disappeared to the time the body was found.
The investigation includes “multiple places” between Houston and Austin, Manley said.
Herries said anyone with information about the case should call APD at 512-974-5250.