The Awful Mess She Left Behind


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The scene opens at a graveside prayer for a woman who had been missing for sixteen years. “Today, we lay to rest the remains of Sheila Elizabeth Holt.  To our Heavenly Father, we commend her spirit.  That she may dwell peacefully in His presence, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, forever Amen.” said the voice of the clergymen in the near empty cemetery.

They had discovered her remains under a side-walk that had been disturbed to fix a leaking water pipe.  The plumber that was repairing the pipe, was observing the backhoe operator as he used the bucket to bust up the concrete.  The plumber halted the operator, when he saw what looked like an old canvas bag……… and bones.  Long bones.  Human bones.  The police took over the small three bedroom house in a quiet neighborhood,  as a crime scene.  The occupants moved out before the could move in.  It was found out that the female victim had died approximately sixteen years ago, judging from the clothing and the decay of the body.  The DNA testing showed that the victim was  Sheila Elizabeth Holt, mother of 15 children, arrested numerous times for  felony drug possession and felony prostitution.  She had disappeared on July 29, 1997,  while it wasn’t uncommon for her to fall off the grid,  to go on drug binges.   This disappearance was different from all the rest, because even in her drug crazed stupor, she would always manage to call her grandmother.  A few times, she would have the staff call from rehab, since they prohibited the patients to use the phones. She had been arrested so often that the Desk Sergeant, even knew Big Mama Holt’s number by heart.  When Sheila E. first went missing, they searched their county jail, the area jails within a hundred miles radius of their city, and all the morgues to no avail.  How she turned up under the walkway leading to this house,  was a total mystery.  But by burying her here, over the water supply line,  gave the police necessary clues, to how they might be able to solve her disappearance and murder. You see, her decomposing remains eroded the copper tubing, and caused the water leak.  Had the gravedigger placed her body 6 inches over to the left or right, Holt’s body may have never been found.  The history of the dwelling showed that it had several owners, and a long list of tenants over the twenty years in question.  One of the owners had even been a retired police lieutenant,  but only in the last 6 years. The background search showed that no permits had been drawn for the concrete work, and the question lingered as to who would be bold enough, to bury a body in the front yard?

Sheila Elizabeth Holt, was born April 1, 1965,  the first of four children in the union of Dorothy and Darnell Holt. A proud and strong African-American family.  Both Darnell and his wife work for the city of Houston, with her father being a meter reader for the Water Department, and Dorothy a meter maid for Municipal Traffic Enforcement. She attended Catholic school instead of the public ones, that most of the Black children in the sixties were taught in, and showed herself to a bright student. Gaining honor in all academics at an early age.   It was not until 1977, that she became a troubled soul.  The cause was never truly known, but she became withdrawn and rebellious.  She began to lie, steal, and skip school.  It was if she became a demon overnight.  Her once close ties to her parents became a call to battle, the only relationship that seemed to hold its place was the one with her paternal Grandmother.  It was discovered that she was pregnant in the Summer of 77′, and had her first child in November of that year, a baby girl.  After her daughter Kizzy way born,  the flood gates were open and Sheila E. remained in a constant state of pregnancy, until she was 29.  All of her children save the last two have grown up now.  Most of them had never known their father, and most of them only knew the mother from her photos.  Only the younger children came to the funeral, and they came under duress.  It was if she had not live at all.  No one said anything bad about her but then again no one really said anything about her at all.  Perhaps  Sheila should have told her parents,  about the priest who had raped her in the boiler room at twelve, and maybe she should have told her folks about the teacher, who found afterwards and swore her to silence.  And if she could speak from her new grave, she could tell everyone that the one who killed her and buried her under the sidewalk, is now a city councilor for the city of Houston.  The 2nd ward……..


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