HOUSTON, TX - The mother of a missing Houston woman, who is believed to have been murdered, made an emotionally-charged plea for more information in her case on Thursday morning. Tricia Valentine asked the public for answers in the disappearance of her daughter Brittany Burfield, 37, during a press conference with Houston Police homicide detectives.
Detective Ken Fregia discussed why police charged Alex Haggerty, 37, with Burfield's murder even though they have not found her body. Fregia says investigators talked to family members and acquaintances who claimed Haggerty admitted to them that he killed Burfield, even sharing details of how he killed her--including stabbing, shooting and suffocation.
"He went around bragging about killing my daughter," said Valentine. "That's what people need to know. He bragged about this. This is a horrible person."
Fregia says Haggerty was seen with Burfield's car in the area of Drew Street in Houston's Third Ward after she went missing. Once police got ahold of the car, their cadaver dogs, in search of Burfield, "hit positive" on the trunk of her car, according to Fregia.
Phone records show Haggerty called his probation officer with Burfield's cell phone after she went missing, yet he denies doing so, said Fregia. Haggerty also denies telling his family he murdered Burfield, said Fregia. Haggerty told Fox 26 from his jail cell that he's innocent.
Haggerty has a history of violence against women, said Fregia. He is charged with felony assault of a family member for strangling a woman he was dating in April. He has also been violent against other women who were authority figures in his life, said Fregia.
Valentine broke down in tears when she talked about her missing daughter. She thanked Houston volunteers and officers who took the time to help search for her daughter.
“I want to thank you for keeping Brittany before the public…because we really need to bring her home," said Valentine. "She only had a handful of friends, but the friends she had were dear to her. Everyone who met Brittany loved her. She did not deserve what happened to her. We just want her found."
Haggerty was a new acquaintance of Burfield--a friend of a friend who needed help--said Valentine. When she learned he needed help, Burfield allowed Haggerty and his girlfriend to live in her apartment for a few weeks, but he was trouble, said Valentine.
"He was a very angry individual," said Valentine, adding there was a final straw that drove Burfield to tell Haggerty he needed to move out. "He stole her company credit card and drained the company account."
In May Haggerty and his girlfriend moved out of Burfield's apartment and into a tent in the yard of a relative's home in the Third Ward, said Valentine. Burfield changed the locks on her apartment. That was about a month before Burfield went missing. Detectives later found Burfield's clothing on the same property where Haggerty's tent was pitched.
Burfield was last seen when she stopped by her mother's house in Sugar Land on June 25. Detectives later found Burfield's clothing on the same property where Haggerty's tent was pitched and took Haggerty in for questioning before charging him with the murder.
Thursday's press conference marked more than three weeks since Burfield was seen alive. Valentine said she wanted to end the conference with just one plea: "Help us bring Brittany home."