Writer’s note: There is a major update in this case as of the beginning of October 2021. This update and any future updates will be posted at the bottom of the article.
On November 28, 2020 a maintenance worker in Houston, Texas saw what he thought was a mannequin sticking out of a bush on a frontage road. It wasn’t a mannequin. It was the nude body of a 26-year-old woman named Alexis Sharkey. An autopsy later showed that the cause of death was strangulation. Sharkey was an aspiring Instagram “mentor” (a title she preferred to influencer) with 20k followers. Six days earlier she’d posted her last photo, a mirror selfie from a resort in Tulum, Mexico:
Born Alexis Robinault in Pennsylvania, Alexis grew up with her parents and two sisters, all of whom remained close. She got a degree from the University of Pittsburgh and relocated to Texas after graduation. While waitressing she met Tom Sharkey, a man more than 20 years older than her who worked as a consultant in the oil industry. The two fell in love and traveled together before settling in Houston. During this time Alexis got involved with the Monat MLM, a pyramid scheme. The Sharkeys documented their lives extensively on social media and married in December 2019. Alexis and Tom lived together in an apartment just a few miles away from where her body was found.
Alexis was last seen in the early morning hours of Black Friday, November 27, 2020. She told her mother she had gotten in an argument with someone, but that person’s identity was never released to the public. They also made plans to spend Christmas together. Alexis celebrated Thanksgiving with her girlfriends at her friend Tanya Ricardo’s house and stayed until midnight. Alexis then met up with a Houston DJ named Sebastian she met earlier that month in Tulum. They went to a bar until 3am.
As Black Friday got into full swing, everyone who knew Alexis thought it was strange that she wasn’t active in her group chat or on social media. It was a big sales day for Monat, and Alexis should have been posting about sales. At 5:30pm someone messaged Alexis’ friends in a group chat from her phone and asked if anyone wanted to go out that night. Her friends were busy so no plans were made. At 11pm, Tom Sharkey talked to one of Alexis’ friend’s boyfriends for 45 minutes telling him that he was worried about his wife. Tom told the man that he and Alexis got in an argument and Alexis left the apartment without shoes and was picked up by a black car. The man says he felt this call was “off”.
The story Tom told the man was also different than what he told police. For instance, he told them Alexis left in her running shoes. He also told police Alexis left her phone behind and then later admitted she took it with her and he used an app to follow her in the black car for awhile until he lost them.
The following day, November 28, 2020, Alexis had plans to attend a girl’s night but didn’t show or message any of her friends all day. Alexis’ friends called her mother, who had already heard that she was missing from Tom. Her friends then called police and filed a missing persons report. Tom was brought in to see if he could identify the body found that morning as Alexis, and unfortunately, he could.
Alexis had many friends in Houston who all said she was a happy, kind, ambitious woman who was well-liked by everyone who knew her. Some hadn’t heard much about Tom Sharkey and were surprised that the couple who seemed so perfect on social media didn’t appear to be very close in real life. Other friends had heard a lot about Tom, and it wasn’t good. They said Alexis told them Tom was abusive and liked to strangle her “for fun”. One friend said Alexis told her that her relationship with Tom was so bad she was afraid for her life. Police discovered the couple was dividing their financial assets, possibly in preparation for a divorce.
Tom Sharkey was not invited to Alexis’ private memorial by her friends and family and fought with her family over the body, after reportedly not planning a funeral himself as her official next of kin. He denies that he and Alexis were planning to divorce. Tom told OK! “I don’t need to set the record straight…I’ll let it play out the way it is. I know what my life was with my wife.”
Update 10.12.21: Unfortunately, as police closed in on their lead suspect, Tom Sharkey, he was found dead by apparent suicide. Sharkey had shot himself inside his daughter’s home in Fort Meyers, Florida as police were preparing to execute an arrest warrant for him. When they arrived at the home where Tom Sharkey was staying, he “ran upstairs” and then investigators heard a shot.
Houston Police Sgt. Michael Burrow said: “The investigation determined that Thomas Sharkey, her husband, was the only person who had the means, motive, and opportunity to have committed the murder.”
Burrow also stated the investigation revealed Tom abused Alexis and that they were planning to divorce. Statistics show that the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when the abused person tries to leave their abuser. Unfortunately, Alexis’ murder is a sad reminder of how far abusers will go to withhold freedom from their victims.