Authorities are investigating whether Alexis Sharkey was murdered after her body was found in some bushes along a Houston road

By Steve Helling
December 11, 2020 03:28 PM

The mother of slain Instagram influencer Alexis Sharkey is speaking out, saying her daughter was an exceptional young woman whose death has devastated her entire family.

"I want people to truly remember her as someone who was loving, and generous, and so full of light and joy," her mother, Stacey Robinault, tells PEOPLE in the latest issue, on newsstands today. "She was a lovely, outstanding human being."

The 26-year-old Houston woman's body was found in some bushes on the side of the road on November 28, two days after she vanished. The case has not officially been classified as a homicide — although authorities acknowledge that the circumstances surrounding Sharkey's death are suspicious.

The case was recently featured on PEOPLE (the TV Show!). A clip is above.

Alexis Sharkey
Alexis Sharkey and her mother, Stacey Robinault

For more on the troubling case of Alexis Sharkey, subscribe now to PEOPLE, or pick up the latest issue, on newsstands today.

The cause of death wasn’t immediately apparent: Authorities said her body showed no outward signs of trauma. While final results from the autopsy are still pending, the coroner’s office says  they have not ruled out foul play.

“The doctor is going to do her usual thorough exam and she will release a cause and manner of death when she is finished,” Michele Arnold, Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences spokesperson, tells PEOPLE. “But we are not ruling out anything.”

Those close to Sharkey insist the vibrant young woman must have been murdered.

"A naked female in her 20s, found in the bushes," says her friend, Chealsea Turnbow. "It is definitely foul play. How is that a natural cause? There's just no way. This is something straight out of a horror film."

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn
Credit: Ari and Louise

The case began on the Friday after Thanksgiving, when Sharkey left her apartment and vanished without a trace.

When she didn't return, her husband, Tom, began reaching out to Sharkey's friends and family members, asking them if they had seen her.

Tom Sharkey did not report his wife missing, but a friend notified police. “We are so very desperate,” her mother wrote on Facebook on November 28. “Please help us find her and bring her home.”

But the following morning — just two days after she was last seen — the family’s worst nightmare came true: A sanitation truck driver saw a pair of feet protruding from some bushes and discovered Sharkey's nude body.

Alexis sharkey
Alexis and Tom Sharkey

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases. 

Friends tell PEOPLE that Sharkey and her husband were having marital problems, but she had not yet filed for divorce. (Tom has denied those rumors.) Internet commenters soon began pointing fingers at Tom, prompting him to defend himself on social media.

"While some of you were posting on social media helping us locate my world, others were wasting time talking about other things," he wrote on Facebook. "Basically crap talk! You all should be ashamed of yourselves! I have been assisting the deputies and making phone calls to fine [sic] out what happened to my wife. Next time, stop and think! And realize you don’t know it all!”

Police tell PEOPLE they have not eliminated anyone as a suspect, and that they don't even know she was murdered. The investigation is ongoing.

PEOPLE (the TV Show!) is a half-hour daily TV show inspired by the brand's unique combination of the most popular celebrity and inspirational human-interest stories, including entertainment news, exclusive interviews, feature stories, beauty and style, true crime and more. The show airs Monday-Friday in all 12 Meredith markets, including Atlanta, Phoenix, St. Louis, Portland, Nashville, Kansas City, Hartford-New Haven, Greenville-Spartanburg, Las Vegas, Mobile-Pensacola, Flint-Saginaw and Springfield-Holyoke. The show is hosted by Kay Adams and Lawrence K. Jackson with correspondents Jeremy Parsons and Sandra Vergara. You can also stream the show daily at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on, PeopleTV app (OTT) and PEOPLE’s FacebookTwitter and YouTube accounts.