HOUSTON — The human remains found down in a Third Ward manhole on Friday have been officially identified as those of Brittany Burfield, according to Houston police.
Burfield, 37, was a Houston woman who was reported missing in June 2018.
Houston activist Quanell X said on Friday that Alex Haggerty -- the man charged in connection with Burfield's death -- told him where he hid her body.
“His main concern with me was he wanted to get this off his chest,” Quanell X said on Friday. "They removed a manhole cover and they dropped her body down a manhole and put the steel iron cover back over it.”
The search for Brittany Burfield
Less than a month after Burfield was reported missing that summer, Haggerty, 37, was charged with murder in connection with her death, though investigators never found her body.
Texas EquuSearch volunteers spent several days searching for Burfield, including in the Third Ward.
“I’m positive when we were searching out here we walked over that manhole probably several times," EquuSearch's Tim Miller said. "Of all the places, right in the middle of the street in a residential area is the last place anyone would have thought."
Officials said Haggerty admitted to killing Burfield to his family and friends -- including drugging, suffocating, shooting and possibly even stabbing her -- though he later denied the graphic details during the investigation.
Discovery and closure
Trisha Valentine, Burfield's mother, was at the scene Friday afternoon as searchers retrieved the body. She had been asking for help finding her daughter since the disappearance more than a year ago.
"I love Brittany. And I would have loved her no matter if we found her or didn't find her," Valentine said. "But I am so excited to have her back. I’m telling you, the emotions inside of me right now can’t be contained."
Valentine said she hopes the discovery ensures justice for her daughter.
“I needed her body for Haggerty's trial," Valentine said. “I have known where she’s at, she’s been in heaven with the Lord.”
“I actually walked up to Haggerty and I told him through it all, 'I want to tell you thank you,'" Miller said. "I said, 'This family did need the closure and thank you for at least doing that.' Their lives never ever will be the same but at least they’ll have a little spot now with a headstone where they can take flowers and visit and can try to put their lives back together."