Charges have been filed against a 51-year-old suspect in the disappearance and presumed death of a 22-year-old Texas woman, according to reports.
Yoland J. Washington is charged with murder. Washington is currently in custody in the Dallas County Jail.
The missing woman, Deundrea Ford, disappeared on September 22, 2023, after leaving her job at Divas Bikini Bar N Grill in east Houston. Police said she was seen leaving with an unknown man in a white Ford Transit van.
Friends and family members were unable to make contact with Ford and, on September 23, she was reported missing. The HPD Missing Persons Unit and the HPD Homicide Division initiated an investigation into the incident.
“Further investigation and evidence identified Washington as the suspect in this case and he was linked to Ford’s death. Washington was arrested in Dallas, Texas on an unrelated charge and he remains in the Dallas County Jail awaiting extradition to Harris County,” police said.
Houston Police said Ford’s body has not been located at this time.
Court documents said police were able to identify Washington as a suspect in the case from credit card information used at the bar and grill from the night Ford disappeared. They were also able to view surveillance video which showed Ford and Washington getting into the van.
Washington was later located in Virginia after deputies in Amhearst County received an alert that the white Ford Transit van was connected to Ford’s disappearance. During an interview, Washington admitted, according to court documents, that he had met Ford inside the club and the two spent time together in his van before he dropped her off.
The documents said authorities obtained a search warrant for the van and found the clothing that Washington was seen wearing on the surveillance video the night Ford disappeared. The clothing appeared to have blood stains on it. Using a special chemical, authorities also found blood stains that illuminated in the middle and rear of the van as well as a rear door, the driver’s side wall, and on a ratchet strap to tie down cargo.
Court documents also said DNA evidence from the blood stains showed a mixture of Ford’s DNA and Washington’s DNA on three of the stains found on Washington’s shirt.
The court documents also say Washington has a history of violence against women. The documents said after Ford’s disappearance, DNA evidence linked Washington to the sexual assault and strangulation of a woman in Dallas, which happened on July 23, 2023. The victim in that case survived and reported that Washington had done these things prior to robbing her. Dallas Police charged Washington with sexual assault and he was arrested at his home in New Jersey and extradited back to Texas.
The court documents also say authorities received multiple reports of similar crimes committed in New Jersey by police agencies in that region.
During an interview, the documents said Washington told police where he had been the night of Ford’s disappearance and where he had driven. However, cell phone data showing where Washington had been that night was in blatant conflict with what Washington had told police.
Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or speak anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.