Paighton Houston: Autopsy complete but Alabama woman’s death remains a mystery

An autopsy conducted on Alabama woman Paighton Houston has been completed but it didn’t immediately reveal how she died. reports that according to Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates, additional testing is needed in order to determine Houston’s cause and manner of death. The news comes two days after authorities found her buried in a “small hole” at a residence in Hueytown, Alabama.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, multiple tips reportedly led authorities to the small Hueytown home, on the corner of Chapel Drive and Love Street. By Saturday, law enforcement had removed the crime scene tape from the residence and opened the street back up.

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Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynniece Washington confirmed that a body wrapped in fabric was exhumed from a shallow hole. The body was of an “intact” female, found in the “muddy, nasty” yard of the residence. Trussville authorities confirmed on Saturday that the body was of 29-year-old Houston.

Paighton Houston [Handout]
Houston was last seen alive on December 20. A coworker reportedly said she went to the Tin Roof bar in downtown Birmingham with Houston after work on the night she vanished.

Someone later contacted Houston’s family and said Houston was last seen leaving the bar at around 10:45 p.m. with “two heavy set black males.” Houston’s family then called 911 and relayed the information.

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Sergeant Johnny Williams with the Birmingham Police Department said authorities did not see Houston on security footage with two men. They have not found anyone matching their descriptions, Williams added. It’s unclear whether police spotted Houston on security footage at all.

Friends posted on social media that Houston didn’t know the men she left with. Later that night, she reportedly sent a text message to a friend indicating that she could be in trouble.

“idk who im with so if I call please answer. I feel in trouble,” the text message said, according to Trussville Tribune.

Authorities have not confirmed whether Houston knew anyone associated with the Chapel Drive home. Neighbors indicated the home was once occupied by an elderly man. The man’s family moved him from the home for medical care and the residence has been unoccupied since.

Jefferson County sheriff’s Chief Deputy David Agee said on Friday that as of now, Paighton’s case is being treated as a “death investigation” only. Whether the death is a homicide will be determined after the cause of death is revealed.

“Right now we have a lot more questions than answers, but we hope to have those answers real soon. We’re gonna work hard and we’re going to find out what happened.”

[Photo via CrimeOnline]
Meanwhile, friends, family, and volunteers spent Saturday wrapping yellow ribbons throughout Trussville in honor of Houston. Hundreds of ribbons were seen throughout the city after the flower delivery shop, Norton’s Florist, let volunteers use its machinery to make the products.

“Norton’s allowed us to use their machine to do the ribbon press so we could get the format for the ribbon,” a volunteer told NBC 12.

Loved ones remember Paighton fondly as being a caring sister, daughter, aunt, and friend with a huge heart. They hoped to preserve her memory through by “painting” the town yellow.

“Paighton had a bubbly spirit, she loved everybody. Whatever she did, she just had a great heart,” Paighton’s uncle, George Harding, said.

[Photo via CrimeOnline]
After learning of her daughter’s death, Paighton’s mother, Charlaine Houston, posted on Facebook that although the outcome was not what she wanted to hear, she’s grateful to have closure so she can properly lay Paighton to rest.

“Our family didn’t get the news we had hoped for but I am very grateful that Paighton is coming home. We don’t have to go through the torture of not knowing what was happening to her and where she could be. God answered our prayers, he brought her home to us. I prayed that if she was already in heaven, I just had to know so my heart could put closure to the missing nightmare.”

Funeral services for Houston have been scheduled for 11 a.m. CST on January 10, at the Clearbranch United Methodist Church in Trussville.

The story is developing. Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Paighton Houston/Handout]