A heavily pregnant woman found shot to death in the driver’s seat of her car in the middle of the road has been identified as Amber Butler.
The 27-year-old, who was just days away from giving birth, was found dead by police in her Chevrolet Malibu on Willowbend Boulevard near Buffalo Speedway in Houston, Texas, on Friday morning.
Her unborn child, a baby boy, died along with her.
Butler had been “so excited” about the imminent birth of what would have been her second son, her family told reporters at local news site abc13. College student Butler was also the mother of a 5-year-old boy and had been looking forward to her baby shower, which had been planned by friends and family to take place over the weekend.
Distraught relatives must now plan a funeral for Butler and her unborn child instead.
On Friday, Houston Police Department (HDP) tweeted: “Our homicide detectives are en route to the 3600 block of Willowbend Blvd near Hwy 90.
“Preliminary information: About 9:35 am, a female was found fatally shot inside a vehicle parked in a moving lane of traffic. No other info is known at this time.”
The engine was still running and the car was not pulled over, but was found in the middle of a lane. Police said a call had been made by someone reporting that a driver was sitting unresponsive in her car.
Local news website Click2Houston reported Butler was shot in the head.
Speaking on Friday morning, at the very early stages of the investigation, HPD detective Philip Pak confirmed Butler had suffered “at least one” gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene.
When asked whether investigators had found a weapon at the scene, he replied: “We don’t see one from our perspective right now, but once we get her out we can do further evaluation and search for weapons—if there are weapons.”
Shell casings were found outside the car, but it was unclear whether these were related to Butler’s death, Pak told abc13.
Investigators do not believe Butler’s death was a suicide, but instead believe she was targeted for some reason, although they do not think the shooting stemmed from a road rage incident, the news station reported.
Butler’s family said they were not aware of anyone who would want to harm her, and asked for the public’s prayers to ensure her killer is caught.
Detectives have not yet released any updates about their investigation or revealed any details about a suspect.
Newsweek has reached out to HPD for further information.