The estranged 33-year-old husband of a Galveston teenager reported missing tells KHOU Ch. 11 in an exclusive interview that his young bride was "never missing" in the first place.
Hailey Cokins was deemed safe by the New Orleans police despite the fact no police officers seem to have actually seen her since her weekend disappearance in New Orleans. And now the husband of the 18-year-old is eagerly speaking for her. Michael Brent Sewell claims he is surprised at the buzz surrounding his wife's stint as a missing person.
“It’s the strangest thing to me. It really is,” he calmly tells KHOU reporter Scott Noll. “An 18-year-old girl becoming missing on Bourbon Street . . .
"Yeah, I guess that is a story. You'd want to find that person, but she was never missing.”
Sewell says his wife has grown tired of the media attention and decided to spend the day shopping instead of speaking with KHOU. As such, he offers details of what happened on her behalf.
“She told me she had been abandoned on Bourbon Street . . . She was very scared and she just wanted to come home.”
Though already separated after their March marriage — and in spite of a now-expired restraining order against him for strangling Cokins in May — Sewell insists they remain close. When Cokins found herself broke and alone in New Orleans without a phone or identification, he says she called him for help and he arranged to have her returned to the Houston area.
“She told me she had been abandoned on Bourbon Street and that she didn't know anybody," Sewell says. "She was very scared and she just wanted to come home.”
Meantime, Cokins' friends filed a missing persons report with the New Orleans Police Department, whose officers Sewell says contacted him on Sunday when his wife arrived in Houston.
“They asked if she was with me, and if she was safe. I said 'yes' and I handed her the phone and she confirmed everything.”
But it wasn't until Tuesday that the New Orleans Police Department officially confirmed that they've determined Cokins is OK.
In those intervening days, information surfaced of Cokins' recent drug arrests as well as a mysterious Facebook prayer page titled "God Save Hailey." Sewell is no stranger to the law either thanks to a 2012 incident during which he posted a sex video of his ex-girlfriend on YouTube, allegedly as punishment for her breaking up with him.
Aside from a Tuesday post on her Facebook page declaring she was not missing, Cokins has yet to join her husband in publicly speaking out about the alleged disappearance. As of yet, neither she nor Sewell have responded to CultureMap requests for comment.
Watch the full KHOU Ch. 11 interview: