Alexis Robinault, an influencer in Houston also known as Alexis Sharkey, was found dead over the weekend.
Robinault, 26, was found with no clothing and no visible wounds, the police said.
"I believe solely that she was murdered, because of the manner in which her body was left," her mother, Stacey Robinault, told Insider in an interview.
A 26-year-old Instagram influencer from Houston, Texas, was found dead on the side of the road on Saturday.
Alexis Robinault, who also used her husband's last name, Sharkey, was found with no clothing and no visible wounds, the police said.
Alexis' mother, Stacey Robinault, told Insider in a phone interview on Wednesday that she believes her daughter was murdered.
"I believe solely that she was murdered, because of the manner in which her body was left," Stacey said. "It just drives deep into the soul that something very malicious happened here, and I want to get to the bottom of it."
Alexis' body was found on Saturday morning, and she was identified on Monday, the police said. Her family had learned that she was missing on Friday.
A representative for the Houston Police Department told Insider on Wednesday that the department was still awaiting the results of the autopsy and could not comment further.
Some of Alexis' friends said she was having marital issues
Stacey said Alexis' tragic death happened on a weekend when Stacey would have been with her daughter if not for the pandemic. "We were even going to get together over the week of Thanksgiving," she said. "Over the weekend of Thanksgiving is when she was killed, and so that's extremely heartbreaking as well."
Stacey said that she, her husband, and the rest of Alexis' family, who live in Pennsylvania, hadn't seen their eldest daughter since Christmas because of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
She said Alexis had always wanted to escape the cold in Pennsylvania, so Stacey was happy for her daughter to start her own life in Texas with her husband, Tom. Stacey recalled that the last time the whole family was together, with Alexis' husband and her younger sister, she was sad to see her daughter go. "When they pulled away and headed out, we were sad because we had had the most wonderful time together," she said.
Some of Alexis' friends told The Daily Beast that she and her husband were having trouble.
"I know they were going through some things," Kendra Martin told The Daily Beast. "She had mentioned being separated even though they were still living in the same apartment. I actually pulled her aside two weeks ago to let her know I'm here for her, and that I know something is going on because her demeanor had changed over the last month."
Tom Sharkey did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In an interview with ABC 13, ABC's affiliate outlet in Houston, Sharkey said he'd been receiving death threats since the news of his wife's death. "She understood me. I understood her. We didn't fight when she left," he said of the night she went missing. "I just told her she couldn't drive under the influence."
He added: "She left anyhow. This is where we're at."
Alexis' friends set up GoFundMe to raise money to support her family's travel costs and funeral plans. As of Thursday, it had raised more than $21,000.
Alexis was a budding influencer
Alexis' Instagram account now has more than 51,000 followers; her follower count has more than doubled since her death. The account jumped from 20,000 followers on Sunday to 51,000 on Wednesday, according to data compiled by SocialBlade, a social-media-analytics website. Her TikTok account also has more than 57,000 followers.
"She was so much fun. She was very playful. She was very caring," Stacey told Insider of her daughter. "She made you feel good."
In addition to posting lifestyle and beauty content, Alexis used her Instagram to promote Monat, a haircare and wellness company that uses "market partners" to sell its products for a commission, which is considered a form of multilevel marketing. A representative for Monat did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Stacey said she was surprised that her daughter, who she said disliked fundraising for her sports teams in high school and studied biology in college, was making a career from selling products. "She went down a totally different road, and she's happy with it," she said, "and if she was happy with her life, I was happy for her."
Related: How social media influencers are adapting during quarantine
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