NORTHEAST HARRIS COUNTY, TX – A Harris County woman has been accused of strangling her 80-year-old mother to death with a medical belt Friday in their Northeast Harris County home, according to court documents.
Suzette Kefauver, 59, was arrested and charged with first-degree felony murder for the death of her mother, Vivian Kefauver. She is currently being held on $1 million bond set during a probable cause hearing Tuesday night.
Mother Found Unconscious, Strangled in Living Room
Deputies responded to a call from Kefauver Friday afternoon to the home the two women shared on Forest Knoll Drive. Upon arrival, officers found 80-year-old Vivian unresponsive and strangled in the living room.
Documents state Vivian suffered a fractured neck and severed spinal cord. The Harris County Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide caused by blunt force trauma to the neck.
Vivian had noticeable signs of strangulation including bruises around her neck as well as white ligature marks believed to have been caused by a gait belt – a medical belt used to assist mobility.
Suspect Claims Attempted Rescue Attempt, Warning Signs Noticed
According to court records, Kefauver told investigators when she entered the living room, she found her mother collapsed on the floor. Kefauver claimed she tried to help her mother up by grabbing her neck and pulling her several times. After this failed to revive her mother, Kefauver says she asked a neighbor for assistance before calling emergency services.
The neighbor informed deputies that Kefauver made several unprompted remarks insisting she did not hurt her mother and that the marks were not from abuse. The neighbor says these statements seemed suspicious and concerning.
Doctors who examined Vivian’s body believe a gait belt was likely involved in making the ligature marks found on her neck, suggesting the belt was used to fatally strangle the elderly woman.
Cared for Mother Over a Year, No History of Abuse
Kefauver told authorities she had been caring for her elderly mother for over a year. No previous reports of abuse could be found between the mother and daughter.
Before losing consciousness after the attack, records show Vivian had been sitting in the living room drinking a protein shake, making her abuse and murder seem abruptly spontaneous and without warning.
Kefauver Arrested, Bonded Out Under Conditions
Suzette Kefauver was arrested and charged with the first-degree felony offense of murdering her mother Friday evening. Her bond was set at $1 million during a probable cause hearing Tuesday night.
The defense attorney stated Kefauver has been cooperative with investigators and has hired legal representation, signaling she intends to show up for future court appearances.
As a condition of her bond, Kefauver will be required to submit to electronic monitoring if she is able to post bail and be released before her case goes to the 228th District Court.
Ongoing Investigation Underway
The investigation into Vivian Kefauver’s murder remains active and ongoing at this time. The Harris County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report is still pending.
Investigators plan to further interview the neighbor who spoke with the suspect after the alleged attack along with other potential witnesses. Officials will continue gathering evidence from the home and surrounding area in the coming days.
No motive has been clearly established for the seemingly unprovoked assault of the elderly woman who was under the care and supervision of her daughter at their shared residence.
As the case proceeds, investigators say more details should come to light explaining the tragic events leading up to Vivian Kefauver’s violent murder Friday allegedly by the hands of her own daughter who was entrusted to provide compassionate support and care.