HPOU recognized Detectives Brandon Stephens and Christian Vaughn for their work arresting a murder suspect and getting his confession, work that earned the two detectives Investigator of the Month honors in the March general membership meeting.
Detective Stephens and Detective Vaughn were assigned to investigate a suspicious missing persons case on Na. 24.
The suspect had stabbed an HPD K-9 after a robbery, bonded out of jail, and was missing along with his father. The neighbors had surveillance video of the suspect and his father getting into a disturbance in the street at about 3:30 a.m. that morning.
Searching the victim’s residence on Carolcrest Drive and interviewing family, the detectives noticed a black pickup truck with no plates down the street. It looked like the father’s vehicle.
Confirming it was the suspect, they followed his vehicle until marked HPD units tried to conduct a traffic stop. The suspect evaded them in his vehicle, eventually fleeing on foot into woods near Memorial Park.
An extended search failed to turn up the suspect. Detectives recovered the vehicle and found a loaded shotgun inside. They returned to the victim’s residence and conducted another detailed search and located the victim’s body in the garage, well hidden under multiple items.
On Jan. 25 in the afternoon Detectives Stephens and Vaughn got a tip that the suspect used his credit card at a gas station in Waller County. They coordinated with undercover officers to flood the area. They reviewed surveillance video and broadcast a detailed description of the suspect and soon a DPS trooper located him walking on the highway in Austin County.
Detectives Stephens and Vaughn interviewed the suspect who confessed to murdering his father by hitting his head repeatedly with a weight and then putting a bag over his head until he stopped breathing.
The suspect also admitted he had wanted to shoot the officers at the residence when he first saw them but said he inadvertently loaded the wrong ammo in his shotgun. Detectives Stephens and Vaughn charged the suspect with Murder.