From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
BESSEMER — The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is actively searching for a suspect in the case of Paighton Houston.
Chief Deputy David Agee said Fredrick Hampton, 50, of Brighton, is facing a charge of abuse of a corpse, a Class C felony. He will be held on a $60,000 bond when he is captured. The warrant was obtained on Wednesday, Jan. 15.
Agee said according to the medical examiner, no trauma was found on Houston’s body that would have led to her death. Investigators said they have reason to believe Houston was in the company of the suspect on the night of Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.
“We have evidence that the victim died the next day at a house on McClain Street, in Brighton,” said Agee. “We have evidence that after the victim died, her body was disposed of by Frederick Hampton, in a criminal matter.”
Investigators said there is no evidence Houston was taken against her will or by force.
Agee said it took a lot of agencies to work through the investigation.
“We would like to thank Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith and the Birmingham Police Department,” said Agee. “We would like to thank Trussville Police Chief Eric Rush and the Trussville Police Department, they have been great.”
Agee went onto thank the Hueytown Police Department and investigators working with the Jefferson County Metro Area Crime Center, along with all investigators who worked the case. Agee also thanked Governor Kay Ivey and local media for keeping the story in the forefront.
Hampton is a convicted sex offender, and he has previous convictions for first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy, among other charges, according to court documents. The rape and sodomy case, from 1992, was out of Jefferson County. Hampton was released from prison in 2012 and was later arrested for violation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which he pleaded guilty to. He was given a two years suspended sentence for that charge.
According to Alabama Code 13A-11-13, abuse of a corpse crime means a person “knowingly treats a human corpse in a way that would outrage ordinary family sensibilities.”
If convicted, a person charged with abuse of a corpse would be sentenced to more than a year in prison.
Houston’s body was recovered from a shallow grave in Hueytown, on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. She was last seen at Tin Roof in Birmingham, on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, according to police.
Chief Deputy Agee said the property where Houston’s body was found is owned by the suspect’s family.
Jefferson County Coroner Bill Yates said toxicology results are partially complete but that information will not be released until all tests are completed in 4 – 6 weeks.
The brother of Houston, Landon Houston, has been made aware of the charge.
“It is our hope that this is the beginning of getting to the truth and seeking justice for Paighton,” said Landon Houston.
Trussville Police Public Information Officer Ben Short released a statement:
“We appreciate the Jefferson County Sheriffs Office and the work their investigators have put and continue to put into the Paighton Houston case. This case brought together a number of agencies and shows that the most effective weapon against crime is cooperation. When law enforcement agencies work together with community support criminals don’t stand a chance. We encourage the community to notify law enforcement if they have any information that would help law enforcement locate Fredrick Hampton.”