HOUSTON — Houston police detectives are investigating the death of a social media influencer who had gone missing over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The body of Alexis Leigh Robinault, who was known on social media by her married name, Alexis Sharkey, was found around 8:30 a.m. Saturday, more than 24 hours after she had been seen or heard from by family. According to Houston police officials, Sharkey, 26, was found along the side of a road off an Interstate 10 service road about 17 miles west of downtown Houston.
Sharkey’s cause of death is pending an autopsy by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Friends told KHOU that Sharkey had spent Thanksgiving with them. They’d all planned to watch movies together on Saturday but she didn’t show up.
“She is attached to her phone. She is a social media queen. She is an influencer. She works from her phone,” one of her best friends, Tanya Ricardo, told the news station.
Sharkey’s mother, Stacey Robinault, wrote on Facebook Saturday night that her daughter had not been seen or heard from since Friday. Unbeknownst to Robinault, her daughter’s body had already been found.
The grieving mother updated her friends the following day after Sharkey had been identified and the family had been notified.
“It’s with deeply broken hearts that Mike and I want to let you all know that Lexi’s body has been found,” Robinault wrote. “We cannot begin to thank you all for your love and the kind words you’ve extended to our family! Please give us this time to grieve this incredible loss to our family and this world!
“We will miss you, Love.”
Sharkey, the oldest of three daughters, grew up in Pennsylvania, Robinault told KPRC in Houston. After graduating from college with a biology degree, she planned to go to medical school but decided to take a year off.
That gap year “knocked her onto a different path,” her mother said. Sharkey moved to West Texas, where she met and married her husband. She also became a full-time social media influencer.
“She loved what she did,” Robinault said. “She had been working with an online company and was selling all health-based haircare and body-care products.”
Robinault told KPRC that she learned Saturday night from her daughter’s husband, Tom Sharkey, and some of her friends that she was missing, and that the police had been notified.
“One friend said, ‘I ran over to her apartment and she’s not there, and we were supposed to meet up,’” Robinault told the news station. “When you start to hear these stories and you just know that’s not right, something’s wrong. She’s never that far away from her device; (she’s) standing up her friends; (her) husband doesn’t know where she is, all of that. All of that strikes fear.”
That fear was justifiable, according to Sharkey’s friends. One friend, whose name was not disclosed, told ABC 13 in Houston that Sharkey had expressed her own fears for her safety during a trip together in October.
“She confided in me that night ... she (was) petrified,” the friend said. “This girl (was) scared for her life.”
It was unclear what Sharkey was afraid of.
Robinault also told multiple Houston-area news stations that she believes her daughter was the victim of foul play, citing a “mother’s gut.”
“The way in which she was found … my child would never do that to herself,” Robinault told KPRC. “That doesn’t even make sense. That is absolutely foul play.”
Sharkey and her husband, who married last year, had lived in Houston since January. Ricardo told KHOU that the couple had been having problems.
“Recently, she opened up to us about it, and divorce was being filed,” Ricardo told the news station. “She was a very private person. She didn’t share a lot about what was going on at home.”
Tom Sharkey, 49, shared Robinault’s post about her missing daughter multiple times Saturday night. On Sunday, he expressed grief over his wife’s death.
“My world! My everything,” he wrote on Facebook. “I’m so lost right now! My one and only!”
In subsequent posts, he asked his late wife to give him strength to get through his grief. He also addressed the rumors and innuendo about his potential involvement in her death.
“You all should be ashamed of yourselves! I have been assisting the deputies and making phone calls to find out what happened to my wife,” he wrote. “Next time, stop and think! And realize! You don’t know it all!”
Alexis Sharkey’s body was found about 3 miles from the couple’s apartment, which Robinault told KPRC her daughter had left after an argument. She left her car at home and apparently had no identification with her when she was found.
According to the news station, she was identified through fingerprints.
A GoFundMe page set up to help Sharkey’s family with expenses related to travel to Houston from Pennsylvania, as well as her funeral arrangements, had raised more than $19,000 as of Tuesday morning.
Robinault told KPRC that the last time she spoke to her daughter, they’d been planning her Christmas visit to Pennsylvania. Now, the family is instead planning her funeral.
“We are wrecked. We are completely wrecked,” Robinault said. “The family is just so devastated. Her cousins, her sisters, her 13-year-old sister. It’s just so difficult.”
Ricardo, who last spoke to Sharkey around 6 p.m. Friday, lamented the way her friend was found.
“(They) just threw her on the side of the road, naked, like garbage. I just, I don’t get it,” Ricardo told KHOU. “No one gets away with something like this. No one.”
She said the late influencer’s friends will not let her death go.
“Whoever did this, we’re going to find them,” Ricardo said. “We’re going to do everything it takes so everyone can put her to rest in peace.”
Anyone with information on Sharkey’s death is asked to call the Houston Police Department Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
Cox Media Group