Texas woman arrested for killing her landlord and stealing rent money from tenants

A Texas woman has been arrested on charges of murder and theft after her missing landlord’s body was discovered. Pamela Ann Merritt, 43, allegedly confessed to friends that she killed Colin Kerdachi, 78, and hid his body under the stairs for months. The arrest comes after a detective reviewed the case and connected a series of suspicious events surrounding Kerdachi’s disappearance.

Colin Kerdachi was reported missing in February 2021 during a winter storm and power outage in Houston. The investigation took a turn when Joe Guy, a tenant of Kerdachi’s, informed the police that he returned home from a trip to find Merritt inside the building, refusing to leave. According to a Houston detective, Guy stated that Merritt confessed to killing Kerdachi and claimed he was dead. Bodycam footage from the missing-person report and a subsequent witness interview supported Guy’s account. Merritt was taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation at the time.

Despite Merritt’s hospitalization, she returned to the building in October 2021, and Kerdachi remained missing. Another tenant, Tabitha Pope, contacted the police after discovering pools and drops of blood on the upper floors, a knife in the mailbox, and a bin with blood in a crawl space. Pope had been paying rent to Merritt and her boyfriend, Michael Brown, who is now facing charges of evidence tampering. Pope became suspicious of their conflicting stories about Kerdachi’s whereabouts, leading her to trick Merritt and Brown into revealing the location of the body.

On December 5, 2021, Pope overheard Merritt and Brown discussing a dead dog under the back stairs. She promptly alerted the police, who arrived to find Kerdachi’s decomposing remains. Merritt and Brown were allegedly caught painting over a bloodstained wall on the second floor. During the investigation, Merritt claimed that the remains were from a dead dog and attributed the blood around the house to rotten meat she had cleaned out of a refrigerator. Brown stated that he last saw Kerdachi in February 2021 with a stab wound to his stomach but believed he had simply left and possibly gone to the hospital.

An autopsy revealed that Kerdachi had been stabbed multiple times, leading the police to conclude that he was likely murdered on February 15, 2021. Brown was arrested in March, and charges were filed against Merritt on May 30. However, she remained on the run until recently, when authorities apprehended her without incident. Merritt is currently held at the Harris County Jail on a $500,000 bond.