Houston Police have apprehended Pamela Ann Merritt, a 43-year-old woman, in connection with the 2021 death of her landlord, Colin Kerdachi, whose remains were discovered under a staircase on his property. Merritt was arrested on charges of murder and theft, according to records from Harris County Jail.
The investigation began when Houston Police responded to a call on December 6, 2021, reporting the discovery of human remains in the backyard of a residence on W. Clay St. Upon arrival, officers found the remains in an advanced state of decomposition. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences confirmed the remains to be those of Colin Kerdachi.
Charging documents reveal that Merritt was accused of fatally stabbing Kerdachi with a knife on February 15, 2021. Kerdachi was reported missing on February 20, 2021, after a major winter storm led to widespread power outages. During the investigation, another resident, Michael Brown, stated that he hadn’t heard Kerdachi in the home since February 15.
On February 23, 2021, officers responded to a burglary in progress at the same residence. They encountered Merritt inside, who refused to leave. When asked about Kerdachi’s whereabouts, Merritt allegedly admitted to killing him. She was subsequently taken into custody and transported to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
In October 2021, a third resident reported to the police that she paid rent to Merritt and Brown and noticed suspicious bloodstains on the third floor of the house while cleaning. Merritt and Brown allegedly tried to paint over the evidence and placed a knife in a mailbox. Merritt claimed that Kerdachi had faked his death and was alive in Africa, attributing the blood to cleaning out rotten meat from a refrigerator.
The autopsy determined that Kerdachi had suffered fatal sharp and blunt force trauma to the torso, along with stab wounds to various parts of his body including the scapula, head, neck, chest, and ribs. Despite Merritt and Brown’s arguments that the remains found were those of a deceased dog, Merritt now faces charges related to Kerdachi’s death.
It is noteworthy that Merritt switched attorneys in her defense, mirroring a common practice in mob prosecutions. This development underscores the complexity surrounding her case and the legal challenges that lie ahead.