College Student Who Vanished After Birthday Night Out with Friends Is Found Slain, Suspect at Large 

Shawtyeria Waites went missing after she was dropped off at Jordan Potts' Houston apartment

Shawtyeria Waites
Photo: Houston Police

Authorities in Texas are searching for a 26-year-old man suspected of murdering a woman who went missing the night she was celebrating her birthday in July.

On Monday, Houston police announced in a press conference they had issued an arrest warrant for Jordan Potts in connection with the July 25 murder of 21-year-old Shawtyeria Waites.

Potts' whereabouts remain unknown as police continue to search for him.

Waites was last seen alive at a Houston apartment complex on the night of July 25, according to police. She had been dropped off by her friends at the complex to meet a man, who police believe to be Potts. After about an hour, Waites' friend was unable to get ahold of her.

Waites was reported missing two days later.

For two weeks, the police department's Missing Persons Unit investigated the case, until Aug. 13, when evidence of possible foul play was discovered. Waites' case was reassigned to the Homicide Division.

Soon after, investigators obtained a search warrant of Potts' apartment, where, according to Houston police, "significant physical evidence" of a murder was found. Authorities believe Waites was killed the night she went missing and her body was moved to the Brookshire area, where remains were later found by police on Aug. 27.

While an autopsy on the remains is pending, Lt. W.L. Meeler of the Houston Police Department said Monday that investigators believe they belong to Waites.

"I really want to offer heart-felt condolences to Shawtyeria Waites' family," Meeler said. "Having your child, your loved one, taken away from you like this is unacceptable."

Jordan Potts
Houston Police Department

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Waites, who was originally from New Mexico, had moved to Houston to attend school at Prairie View A&M University, activist Quanell X said during an Aug. 8 press conference with Waites' family, KHOU reports.

On the night of her murder, she had been out celebrating her birthday with two friends when the group met Potts, who invited them back to his apartment.

"It was never a plan to continue a party," Quanell X said. "We believe it was a plan to kidnap these young girls and only one went in and one has never been seen again."

It's unclear whether Waites and Potts had met on a dating app before the encounter. Meeler warned other women to be careful since Potts remains at large.

"We're asking the public's help in finding him. Look at this individual, if you see him, if he tries to communicate — it looks like this is a pattern of his, trying to communicate with females in this manner," Meeler said. "So what I'd like to say is be careful with who you deal with out there on social media, through dating apps, et cetera."

Anyone with information in the case or of Potts' whereabouts is urged to contact Houston police at 713-308-3600 or Houston Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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