BEDFORD -- With a tissue in one hand, Latina Woods fought back tears Wednesday afternoon as she appealed for help to find whoever killed her teenage daughter, whose body was dumped in a secluded area of Williamson County near Austin.
Woods said she doesn't know why someone would shoot her 18-year-old daughter, Tynesia Brown. The teen's body was found Monday morning.
"I keep expecting her to call," Woods said. "The not knowing why has been very hard."
Woods talked to reporters in small groups one after the other Wednesday afternoon at the Bedford police station in the hope that someone will come forward with information about her oldest child's death.
As three photos of a smiling Brown lay on a table in front of her, Woods talked about her daughter's passion for shoes, Facebook and her family.
Born in Mississippi, Brown was home-schooled and had been looking forward to returning to her home state for Thanksgiving. "She could hardly wait to get back to her family," Woods said. "She loved her family."
Authorities have indicated that, before her slaying, Brown and two other people may have visited truck stops and hotels up and down Interstate 35. The teen had been traveling with an African-American man and woman in a silver sedan, they said.
"I don't know anyone with a car like that," Woods said. "If I did, I would have already called police."
Sgt. John Foster of the Williamson County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday that the initial investigation indicates that Brown was not being held against her will.
"Witnesses have confirmed her at a truck stop," Foster said. "We are going through videotapes right now. ... She got in the car willingly."
Woods described her daughter as a typical teenager, with her share of problems. But whatever may have been going on, Woods said, the focus needs to be on finding the killer.
"I want to find this person," she said.
Woods last saw her daughter Friday morning at their Bedford home.
"I thought she was staying with friends during the weekend," Woods said. "I tried to call and text her all weekend."
Brown's body was found about 9:30 a.m. Monday in an isolated area of County Road 370 just off Interstate 35 near Jarrell. The town is about 40 miles north of Austin.
Officials with the Williamson County Sheriff's Department and Texas Rangers say they believe that Brown was killed somewhere along Interstate 35. Detectives are not ruling out that the killing may have occurred in a hotel room.
Authorities say they believe that the suspect may be known in North Texas.
Brown was arrested in July in New Mexico, along with a man, and accused of transportation with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, according to federal court documents. The two were accused of enticing an unidentified 16-year-old they met in Austin in a prostitution scheme, according to the documents.
The charge against Brown was dismissed Oct. 14, court documents show.
The man, Joshua Albert Harris, pleaded guilty and was in federal custody Wednesday awaiting sentencing, a court spokeswoman said.
Woods declined to talk about the case.
Staff writers Mitch Mitchell and Susan McFarland and researcher Cathy Belcher contributed to this report.
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