AP NEWS

Woman found dead in Houston field identified

March 13, 2019

A woman who was found dead in an east Houston vacant lot has been identified as 21-year-old Angel Peckham.

Alfredo Herrera was walking his dog Friday morning along a dead-end in the 12200 block of Sandy Hook Drive when he discovered the woman face-down in the grass with a ripped camisole.

Something was wrapped around Peckham’s neck, Herrera said.

An autopsy performed Monday did not identify a cause of death and additional tests are pending, Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences spokeswoman Michele Arnold said. Investigators at the field were unable to find apparent gunshot or stab wounds.

Police have identified a person of interest in Peckham’s death but have not found him, HPD spokeswoman Jodi Silva said. A motive for the slaying is not yet known.

The detective handling the investigation said Friday the woman in the field had worked as a prostitute. She was among more than 80 pimps, prostitutes and johns identified by the Harris County Attorney’s Office in a August 2018 lawsuit for having ties to the infamous “Bissonnet Track,” according to court records.

Peckham was arrested for prostitution in 2014 — when she was 17 — and a second time in April 2018, court records show. Both cases were dismissed.

She was named a defendant in the county lawsuit “based on her activity in the Bissonnet Zone,” Harris County Attorney Celena Vinson said. A lack of recent criminal activity prompted the county to file a motion on March 1 to have her and five other people removed from the case.

The lawsuit is aimed at creating a civil injunction to end illicit business in an area from Bissonnet Street and Highway 59 to the Sam Houston Toll Road. Those identified in the lawsuit would be subject to arrest and a fine of up to $10,000 for contempt of court if they did it again. Each of the defendants had been previously arrested for a prostitution-related crime in the area, according to the county attorney’s office.

Peckham’s mother in Mineola declined to comment when reached Tuesday on the phone.

The woman was believed to be in trouble in the hours before her body was discovered at the end of the Ellington subdivision.

Jewel Alford, 28, said her brother went looking for Peckham after she called him in apparent distress from an apartment complex in the 3900 block of Arlington Square Street, more than five miles away from the field.

“She contacted my brother and said she was there with a friend and that she was uncomfortable,” Alford said in a recent interview.

The brother called police from the complex around 7:20 a.m. A call to police around that time said a woman appeared to be dead in an apartment but officers did not find a body.

Within 40 minutes, officers were dispatched to the Ellington lot where Peckham’s body was found.

nicole.hensley@chron.com