LEAGUE CITY, Texas (FOX 26) - Finally in late February, Texas Rangers issued a warrant for Howerton’s arrest. On Wednesday, he turned himself in.
Howerton is charged with first degree murder and first degree sexual assault.
Back in League City, Cayley’s mother Alison Steele didn’t go on camera but issued the following statement:
The League City community is reacting to the arrest of a man accused of murdering and sexually assaulting a former Clear Creek High School student. Cayley Mandadi was a Trinity University cheerleader when she was murdered. Her boyfriend is accused of the crime and turned himself in to Bexar County deputies on Wednesday.
The brutal murder of Mandadi, 19, is a shock to the Clear Creek Independent School District community where she was a student two years ago. Fellow students reacted to the arrest of her alleged killer and boyfriend Mark Howerton.
"The fact that people do stuff like that, it really tears me apart,” said Hayden Linares, a student at Clear Creek High School. “People are really messed up in this world.”
Mandadi was on her way to Houston from San Antonio with her boyfriend when she died on Halloween 2017, according to an arrest warrant for 22-year-old Howerton.
The warrant says during that road trip, Howerton brought her to a Luling hospital. She wasn’t breathing, was naked from the waist down and was bloodied and bruised, according to the warrant.
In the warrant, Howerton says the couple got into a fight and had consensual but rough sex on the road trip, including hair pulling, choking and scratching. He told investigators the road trip continued until he realized she was unresponsive.
Mandadi died at the hospital on Halloween 2017. An autopsy showed Mandadi died of blunt force trauma to the face and head. Texas Rangers say her injuries were consistent with those of a violent sexual assault.
Howerton has been considered a person of interest over the last several months. Court documents show Howerton had a history of violence and threats towards Mandadi.
We remain utterly devastated by the loss of Cayley. We ask people of faith to pray for her family, friends and for justice in this case.
Clear Creek ISD officials say Mandadi was in the gifted and talented program at Clear Creek High School and graduated in 2016.
“It’s a sad tragedy, and something that shouldn’t have took place,” said Matthew Barrera, a student at Clear Creek High School. “Sorry for her family.”
Howerton’s attorney, John Hunter, issued the following statement on Wednesday:
Mr. Howerton is ready and eager to vindicate himself in court. He’s innocent of the charges, and he’s doing the right thing. If someone has a warrant out for his arrest, then he needs to turn himself in.