Almost 10 days after a 76-year-old woman was found shot to death during a welfare call in Texas City, police disclosed that the woman’s daughter is now charged with murder.
Irene Gray was found dead on Oct. 13 at a home in the 900 block of N. Amburn Road. Authorities said they were responding to a call of a welfare concern when she was found with “injuries consistent with gunshot wounds.”
On Monday, police stated that Gray’s daughter, Sherene Lavett Washington-Harper, 54, was arrested on Oct. 20 for a murder warrant.
“It’s hard to believe that she could possibly commit such an awful act,” Irene Smith, Gray’s granddaughter, said. “Like, I just can’t.”
Smith said there had been tension between her grandmother and her mother, Washington-Harper, leading up to the murder. She said her grandmother wanted her mother out of her home and alleged Washington-Harper was using drugs.
“I always knew from arriving to the crime scene that just from the appearance of my mother and my brother that something was off,” Smith said. “There were no tears. No distress. It was just a normal day for them.”
Smith said she spoke to her grandmother the night before she was killed, and things seemed normal. The following morning, at about 8 a.m., she got a call from her children, who had spent the night with their grandmother, saying that something happened to Gray.
Reporters stopped by the home where Gray was found dead twice in the following days and spoke to a woman believed to be Washington-Harper. She would not open the door either time. The day after the murder, she said she was really afraid and had no idea who would do this to her sweet mother.
“No,” Smith replied when asked if she had spoken to her mother since the arrest. “I never will. Ever.”
Smith described her grandmother, whom she was named after, as being beautiful, energetic, and a cowgirl. She said she has found a sense of peace in the loss, knowing her grandmother touched so many lives.
Harper-Washington is being held on a $250,000 bond.
Smith started a GoFundMe to help the family with the costs associated with the loss.