When firefighters and deputies arrived at the scene, they located a 53-year-old woman dead inside. An adult male and two children — ages 8 and 10 — were reportedly outside the home unresponsive. They reportedly were suffering from smoke inhalation and were transported to a nearby hospital.
The adult male, who the Harris County Sheriff’s Office identified as Xavier Jawin Howard, reportedly had gone inside the home to retrieve his two children.
The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office came to the scene and reportedly found that the deceased woman, whom they identified as 53-year-old Tammy Mouton, had sustained injuries "not consistent with the house fire." According to KTRK-TV, Mouton had neck fractures and hemorrhaging but no soot in her lungs, which would have occurred had she inhaled smoke.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Mouton is Howard’s mother-in-law.
On Jan. 25, homicide detectives with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office arrested Howard on a murder charge. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office alleges Howard strangled Mouton and lit the house on fire to cover it up. The statement says Howard fled the scene then "returned minutes later to help neighbors remove his two children from the residence."
Howard had reportedly been living at the residence for two months before the fire. His bond was set at $2 million for the murder charge and $50,000 for a charge of escape.