Alexis Sharkey, the Instagram influencer found naked in the bushes near a Houston road in November, was strangled to death, the medical examiner’s office announced Tuesday.
Sharkey, a 26-year-old Texas influencer with over 71,500 Instagram followers, went missing on Nov. 27 after spending Thanksgiving with friends. She was discovered the next morning by a City of Houston public works employee who had reportedly noticed feet coming out of some bushes just off a road.
While the Houston Police Department has not provided details on their investigation into Sharkey’s death, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences has ruled her death a homicide. Police said previously that Sharkey was found with no visible wounds, but the autopsy report concludes she died from strangulation.
“The autopsy report will be available after law enforcement concludes its case,” a spokesperson told The Daily Beast.
The confirmation that Sharkey was killed only confirms her friends and family’s worst fears.
“The way in which she was found—my child would never do that to herself,” Stacey Robinault, her mother, previously told KPRC. “That doesn’t even make sense. That is absolutely foul play. There is nothing to me that suggests that this was an accident. And there’s nothing to me that suggests anything else, other than that this was done to her.”
A self-described “mentor,” Sharkey frequently posted about her glamorous trips and interest in health and wellness. In her last post on Nov. 22, the 26-year-old described her desire to move to Tulum, saying she’d fallen in love with “the sinks and overall aesthetic” of the popular Mexican vacation destination. Sharkey also had about 57,900 followers on TikTok, where she spent time creating videos about hair care and fashion.
But despite her positive presence on social media, multiple friends told The Daily Beast that the 26-year-old had a troubled relationship with her new husband, Tom Sharkey, whom she married in December 2019.
“Her and her husband were going through a divorce,” one friend previously said. The decision to end her marriage, the friend said, came after a girls’ trip to Marfa, Texas in October, where Sharkey claimed her husband “had been putting hands on her.”
“Throughout the trip, he was sending really awful, nasty messages to her,” the friend said. “But one night when she and I were talking alone, she said, ‘He strangles me and chokes me out and I blackout and wake up on the bathroom floor every single time.’”
Three other friends also told The Daily Beast that Sharkey had complained about physical abuse and said her husband could be “controlling and manipulative” in group settings. It is not clear if Sharkey had actually filed paperwork to dissolve her marriage, and her husband insisted in an interview with ABC13 their marriage was not in jeopardy. He’s also denied allegations he abused his wife.
“She wasn't happy. She was stressed. I would cuddle her to try to make her strong. She was an amazing woman. Sir, my wife was an amazing woman. She really was,” Tom Sharkey told the outlet. “There’s always other sides to everything. I was the one holding her, cuddling her, and building her back up.”
The influencer’s mom, who lives in Pennsylvania, told ABC13 she briefly spoke to her daughter the day before Thanksgiving, but that the holiday “was a busy day on her end and our end, so it was just one of those passing, type of ‘Love you’ things.”
Sharkey’s friends said they became worried when she stopped responding to messages around 6 p.m. on Nov. 27. Two friends said Tom Sharkey got into an argument with his wife before she went missing, but he denied those claims to ABC13, stating he simply told her “she couldn’t drive under the influence.”
“She left anyhow. This is where we’re at.” Tom Sharkey told ABC13. “I don't need to set the record straight. I’ll let it play out the way it is. I know what my life was with my wife.”
During the interview, Sharkey also slammed people “talking tons of crap,” saying he has received death threats since his wife’s death garnered national attention. He stressed he’s “not bothered” by the threats and is confident authorities are “going to find everyone that was involved.” “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m not a jerk. I’m just destroyed,” he said.