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Tx. Woman Disappeared in September — and Her Ex-Boyfriend Has Just Been Charged in Her Murder

A Houston man has been charged with the murder of his ex-girlfriend, who was missing for several weeks before her body was found last October.

Emmishae Kirby, 29, vanished on September 18, 2020. After an exhaustive search, her body was found on Oct. 3, 2020, in the Bear Creek Park area of Houston. She had been shot in the head and strangled.

PEOPLE confirms that authorities have arrested Kirby's ex-boyfriend, Javon Gilbert. He has been charged with murder and tampering with evidence.

According to ABC-13, prosecutors said during a probable cause hearing that Gilbert and Kirby lived together until shortly before her death. The couple allegedly broke up after Kirby accused Gilbert of sexually assaulting her. 

According to authorities, witnesses say that Gilbert moved out of the apartment they shared — but later broke back into her apartment and stood over her bed with a knife in his hand. Prosecutors say that he repeatedly showed up at her apartment unannounced.

According to prosecutors, Kirby allegedly texted Gilbert on September 5, saying that she felt unsafe. He later responded that he wouldn't hurt her.

When Kirby disappeared in September, authorities say they quickly began to suspect Gilbert.

"Further investigation and evidence obtained by detectives indicated Gilbert was with Kirby on the night of her death and determined he was responsible for her disappearance and death," Houston police said a press release to KHOU-TV.

Police reviewed surveillance video from Kirby's apartment complex. In the video, they say they saw Kirby getting into her car, with Gilbert getting in the passenger side. Authorities say that they went to a gas station and a restaurant before returning to Kirby's apartment.

Police believe that Gilbert killed Kirby inside the apartment. Surveillance video shows him carrying a heavy object — believed to be Kirby's body — to her vehicle at 1:40 a.m. on September 19. He drove off and returned an hour later, authorities say.

Later, surveillance video appears to show Gilbert making several trips from Kirby's apartment to the dumpster and throwing items away, including a sofa.

Gilbert, 30, was arrested on January 20. He remains in jail on $250,000 bail for the murder charge and $50,000 bail for the tampering with evidence charge. He did not appear at Thursday's probable cause hearing due to "mental health reasons," prosecutors say. He has not yet entered a plea.

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