Wow, what an explosive end to this tragic story.
For those who need a refresher, the case of Alexis Sharkey was one of the most shocking viral crime stories of 2020. The weekend after Thanksgiving last year the Instagram influencer was found dead by the side of the road miles from her Houston home. Her body was completely naked but showed no obvious signs of trauma; even the manner of her death was a mystery.
Over the next few weeks we learned the 26-year-old had confided in her friends she was afraid for her life, but there wasn’t much more to go on. We didn’t even learn until January that she had for certain been murdered — when the cause of death was determined to be strangulation.
The last person to see her alive had been her husband, Tom Sharkey. He said they had gotten into a fight on Thanksgiving night, and she had stormed out in a drunken rage, and that was the last time he saw her.
However, it appears authorities were not buying his story.
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On September 29, after a lengthy investigation, a warrant was issued for the 50-year-old’s arrest. However, after Alexis’ death, he had left the state of Texas. Police located him in Florida and were closing in to make the arrest. However, they were too late; they found him dead of a single gunshot wound to the head, a presumed suicide.
In a press conference on Wednesday, the Houston Police Department broke the news. It was also the first time the arrest warrant had been made public; a spokesperson explained that detectives had spent months speaking to witnesses and learned there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship and that Alexis was planning to divorce Tom. That’s motive on top of the means.
Police also noted how the widower had been unnecessarily “evasive” and unhelpful in their investigation. In fact, he apparently left the state just two weeks after his wife’s death, making it impossible for police to collect DNA evidence from him.
Eventually he agreed to meet with police to do an exam while he was living in Georgia — but when the cops arrived he was already gone. The spokesperson explained:
“He came up with a very bizarre story later on about why he essentially disappeared and then a short time after that incident, he relocated to Florida.”
Ultimately the fleeing, the violence, the divorce — it became a preponderance of evidence in the eyes of the police, who explained:
“The investigation determined that Thomas Sharkey, her husband, is the only person who had the means, motive and opportunity to have committed the murder.”
They kept the arrest warrant a secret because of the “high-profile nature of the case” — the victim’s influencer status, her husband’s shifty behavior, and the shocking state she was found in had led to national headlines. Not even their suspect knew; they were planning to formally charge him with the murder after apprehending him.
When police learned he was staying with his daughter in Fort Myers, Florida, the US Marshals were called in to assist police with the interstate arrest. They say when they arrived at the home, Sharkey immediately ran upstairs and shot himself.
Neither he nor his family had been informed of the arrest warrant; it’s safe to assume he just knew what was coming.
We’re just happy Alexis’ family has some sense of closure after this nearly yearlong nightmare.
You can see the whole press conference (below):
[Image via Alexis Sharkey/Instagram.]