Grim twist after influencer, 26, found naked and strangled to death

·3-min read

Almost a year after Instagram influencer Alexis Sharkey was found dead in a suspected murder, her husband who was wanted over the killing has died in an apparent suicide.

Thomas Sharkey, 50, was found dead in Florida on Tuesday night (local time), according to authorities.

He was wanted in Texas for the murder of his wife after the 26-year-old was found naked and strangled to death on a Houston highway in November 2020.

US Marshals discovered Thomas’s body at his daughter's home in Florida on Tuesday night. 

They had been acting on an arrest warrant, issued in connection to his 26-year-old wife’s presumed murder.

Photo taken at night of Thomas Sharkey smiling at camera with Alexis Sharkey looking at him, standing beside him.
Thomas Sharkey was wanted by police in Texas. Source: Twitter

'Only person' with the motive to murder

Houston Police Sergeant Michael Burrow spoke to the media on Wednesday (local time) saying Thomas was the only person who had the "means, motive, and opportunity to have committed the murder". 

Sergeant Burrow said they had ruled out other suspects during the investigation, including some that were “brought up by Mr Sharkey”.

"We established there was a history of domestic violence between the two of them, and there was a pending divorce," he said, adding there was also evidence Thomas Sharkey had not been truthful with several key issues and statements he made to police.

"Over time we were able to develop enough evidence to have probable cause to get an arrest warrant and charge him [with Ms Sharkey's murder]."

Photo of Alexis Sharkey wearing a hat looking at camera.
Ms Sharkey's body was found on November 28, 2020. Source: Instagram

Thomas Sharkey confronted by police in Florida

An arrest warrant was obtained on September 29, 2021 in Harris County, Texas with the intention to formally charge him with the murder of his wife once they arrested him.

A fugitive task force was brought in to locate Thomas after they couldn't locate him in Texas, finding him at his daughter's house in Fort Meyers. 

"He avoided them and ran upstairs when he learned that law enforcement was there for him and he took his own life," Sergeant Burrow said. 

"No one else is under investigation in the case. We have clear evidence that Mr Sharkey acted alone."

Thomas's family didn't know he was wanted by police.

Alexis Sharkey went missing after holidaying with friends

Ms Sharkey went missing on November 27, 2020, after spending the Thanksgiving holiday with some friends. 

Her body was discovered the next morning on a highway in Houston by City of Houston Solid Waste supervisor John Richardson.

Mr Richardson had been called by one of his employees on November 28, saying he had seen either a body or a mannequin in the bushes though he “wasn’t too sure”.

The employee told Mr Richardson he was too scared to check, asking the supervisor to look, where he discovered Ms Sharkey's body.

In January, an autopsy report concluded Ms Sharkey died from strangulation and ruled it a homicide.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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