Thu. May 23rd, 2024

A missing 54-year-old Alabama woman has been confirmed dead after her remains were found in Hatchechubbee, according to the Russell County Sheriff’s Office.

Michelle Hough had been missing since November 5, and now her remains have been recovered under an overpass.

A lieutenant says that Hough was found based on good police work. According to him, they had canvassed the area for a couple of days after hearing about the details of her disappearance.

Sheriff Health Taylor says they saw via surveillance footage the victim entering an automotive shop in Phenix City and never coming back out. The shop was discovered to be owned by 58-year-old Kenneth Lawhorne, who now faces murder and kidnapping charges.

According to Taylor, the Hough and Lawhorne did know each other. Taylor says Hough wanted to buy a car from the suspect for her son.

“He has done work on her vehicles, and she was engaged with him about finding a vehicle for her son,’’ Taylor said. “The extent of their relationship we’re still looking into, but they did know each other.”

“We know that she arrived at his job, and never left,’’ Taylor said.

Hough’s husband, Steven Hough, on Monday morning reported his wife missing to sheriff’s officials. He said he had not seen her since the previous afternoon, and an investigation was immediately launched.

Taylor said they quickly determined that a car fire to which they had responded Sunday night on Carver Road in Seale was linked to her disappearance.

Though burned, investigators found a hidden VIN and determined the torched car was Hough’s Equinox.

Investigators “pinged” Hough’s cell phone and it showed her last location to be in the area of 10th Avenue South and 12th Street in Phenix City, court records show. That location is about 100 yards away from Lawhorn’s body shop.

Detectives were able to obtain surveillance video from a nearby business and that footage showed Hough’s Equinox pull into Lawhorn’s business at 1:41 p.m. Sunday.

The video also showed Lawhorn loading up Hough’s vehicle on a trailer that was hooked up to a white Chevrolet 2500. The truck then pulled off with Hough’s vehicle in tow.

Taylor said Lawhorn was driving the truck that was towing Hough’s vehicle.

“We have amended the charges for Mr. Lawhorne to include capital murder, kidnapping and capital murder robbery. He is currently still in the Russell County jail with no bond. He got a $30,000 bond on the theft of the car but is being held on capital murder charges with no bond,” said Taylor.

During the press conference, Taylor also said they were still working on details surrounding the case, and anyone with information should contact authorities.

Hough’s family says they are grateful for the swift, hard work of the Russell County Sheriff’s Office. The family also says they appreciate the Phenix City and Seale community for all the prayers and tips that led to finding their loved one.

Tell us your thoughts...

By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born |