The remains of a missing Texas woman last seen alive over a year ago were found stuffed in a refrigerator at her boyfriend’s home, and police documents reveal he had threatened to kill her on several occasions.
Chad Christopher Stevens, 41, has been charged with tampering with evidence with intent to impair a human corpse in connection with the death of 35-year-old Heather Louise Schwab, McKinney Police said.
Schwab was reported missing on June 28 by her mother in McKinney, a suburb of Dallas–Fort Worth.
On Nov. 12, during the execution of a search warrant on Stevens’ property, a body was found in a refrigerator wrapped in “copious amounts of plastic wrap” in the kitchen of the home, the arrest affidavit said. That body was later identified by the Collin County medical examiner’s office as Schwab.
During interviews with police, Stevens said Schwab died in his home on July 26, 2022 and he admitted to hiding her body in the fridge, claiming he didn’t know what to do with it, according to authorities.
A mother’s concern
Schwab’s mother, Tammra Schwab, filed a missing person report for her daughter on July 28, according to the arrest affidavit.
She told McKinney police that her daughter used narcotics and didn’t have a close relationship with her or other family members, but she hadn’t seen or spoken to her daughter in over a year.
She told authorities that she knew her daughter was in a relationship and living with Stevens for the past several years.
However, she told police that Stevens was abusive and allegedly assaulted Heather in the past. The mother said that on “multiple occasions in the past,” Schwab said to her ”Chad would kill her and hide her body somewhere,” the arrest affidavit said.
Tammra Schwab said she was in contact with a neighbor in the area of Stevens home who would give her updates on seeing Schwab, but told her they hadn’t seen Schwab in several months, leading Tammra to file the missing person report.
“Tammra stated that based on the past abuse and volatile relationship, she and other family members believed Chad may have killed her but were unable to provide any evidence of this,” a detective wrote in the affidavit.
A detective then interviewed Stevens, who said Schwab had left him roughly a year prior and he hadn’t seen or heard from her since.
A daughter’s concerning call that opened the case
There were no leads in the case of finding Schwab until Nov. 3, when Tammra Schwab told police she heard from Stevens’ ex-wife who said Stevens had killed Heather Schwab and buried her in his backyard, the arrest affidavit said.
A detective called the ex-wife, who lived out of state in Oklahoma, and she said she was told the comments about Schwab from her daughter who spoke to Stevens the night prior, on Nov. 2.
A detective went to Oklahoma to interview Stevens’ ex-wife and daughter on Nov. 4. The daughter told authorities she didn’t speak to her father often but called him on Nov. 2 to tell him she’s pregnant, but he responded by getting “very upset” and “threatened to kill the baby if she did not have an abortion and even threatened to kill her,” the affidavit said.
The daughter told him to not make such threatening statements because people might take him seriously, especially as his girlfriend, Heather Schwab, had gone missing.
Stevens asked her: “Oh so you think I killed her?” the affidavit said. He then started asking his daughter how she knew about his backyard, that it was allegedly dug up, and other things she had not brought up, the document said.
“Chad then made statements about how even if he had done something to Heather, he would only get 5 years in prison for hiding the body and he knew that because [he] had researched it,” the affidavit said.
Stevens allegedly asked his daughter “how she knew that Heather was in the backyard,” to which she replied that she didn’t know that information and Stevens replied “sarcastically,” “oh yeah, I definitely did that,” according to the filing.
A detective got video and photographs of Stevens’ property which led investigators to note “several anomalies” in the backyard “that were of interest.”
Authorities also got in contact with another ex-girlfriend of Stevens who said he allegedly assaulted her in January.
A search warrant was executed at Stevens’ home Nov. 12 and he was arrested on an assault warrant connected to his ex-girlfriend.
During that search, authorities discovered the suspicious refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap. The arrest affidavit noted that the sole entry to the kitchen had been “suspiciously closed and concealed from the remainder of the residence with a piece of sheet rock.”
During interviews with McKinney police, Stevens said Schwab died at his home on July 26, 2022 and he didn’t know what to do so he put her body in the refrigerator, the affidavit said.
Detectives located a call for service on Aug. 17, 2022 involving Chad and Heather indicating a woman was waving a firearm and a man was screaming at the location. “Detectives believe it is possible that August could be a more accurate time frame of the incident,” the affidavit said.
Stevens told detectives that there had been “multiple physical altercations” between he and Schwab and he had “threatened to kill Heather” on several occasions. He told detectives that on several occasions, he thought about “carrying out the threat of killing Heather.”
The arrest affidavit noted that there were signs during that interview that Stevens “was not completely forthcoming.”
Stevens is booked at the Collin County Detention Facility with bond set at $150,000. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.