Paul Hargrave, Crystal McDowell’s Boyfriend, Featured in Dateline Episode

Dateline, Michael Roberts


June 5’s episode of Dateline features the story of Crystal McDowell, who was found murdered in Houston, Texas in August 2017. At the time McDowell was killed, she was dating her boyfriend Paul Hargrave.

NBC’s official synopsis for the episode teases that it “Investigat[es] the disappearance of a mother of two.” McDowell’s ex-husband Steven McDowell confessed to strangling her to death in his home, while their kids were in the house; he was found guilty and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Ahead of the episode, here’s what you need to know about Paul Hargrave:

1. Hargrave & McDowell Were Dating a Few Weeks Before She Died

According to CBS, McDowell’s uncle Jeff Walters told Sheriff Brian Hawthorne about her new relationship with Hargrave. He said, “She seemed in love with him… They seemed perfect together. She was happy. So happy that Crystal had posted on Facebook just two days before she disappeared… ‘I’ve never been happier in my whole life than I am right now… God is so good.'”

2. Hargrave Believed He Had ‘A Lot to Do With’ Stephen McDowell’s Decision to Murder Crystal

Hargrave told ABC 13 that he thought Steve McDowell’s murder of Crystal was motivated by her new relationship with him. He said, “I believe he knew exactly what he was doing. I think he knew the storm was coming in and this would help cover his tracks. I think I had a lot to do with his decision to do this and I can’t help but feel responsible for that.”

According to ABC 13, McDowell’s confession was “tearful” and “remorseful.” Although Crystal and Paul had begun dating, ABC 13 reported that Crystal was still living at Steven at the time, for the sake of their children. Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said that “A lot of that was so she had access to the children. The children were primarily staying with Steve.”

3. Hargrave Is a Well-Known Jeweler in the Houston, Texas Area

Paul Hargrave Crystal McDowell

Facebook/Paul HargravePaul Hargrave pictured on his Facebook page.

Amongst the Houston, Texas community, Paul Hargrave was well-known as a jeweler and business owner. According to Hargrave’s LinkedIn, Hargrave has owned Texas Gem Services since February 2010. He is also the founder of Robson’s Jewelers, which has been operational in the greater Houston area since 2000.

In Hargrave’s LinkedIn profile, he describes himself as a “Seasoned Gemologist with 21+ years of experience in all phases of gemology and the jewelry industry. I have an extensive background in appraisals and certifications of gems as well as management and oversight of jewelry businesses. I also possess several professional gemological certifications from accredited institutions and hold memberships in numerous trade organizations.”

4. McDowell Was Last Seen Alive at Hargrave’s House

According to ABC 13, the last place Crystal McDowell was seen alive was at Hargrave’s house on August 25.

On August 26, when she went missing, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, causing heavy flooding that helped conceal her body. McDowell’s body was not found until almost 2 weeks later on September 9. That same day, her ex-husband Steven McDowell was charged with her murder.

5. Hargrave Called McDowell’s Uncle for Help Finding Her Once She Went Missing

The morning of her disappearance, McDowell went to Steven McDowell’s house to pick up her children before his workday, but she never made it back home.

Once Hargrave realized that McDowell was missing, he reached out to her uncle Jeff Walters to see if he knew where she was; when he didn’t, Walters called the police to begin a search. McDowell’s parents died when she was young, so Walters raised her.

Dateline airs on Friday nights at 10/9c on NBC.

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