Dateline: Secrets Uncovered - Where is Erwin Howard now?

Erwin Howard
Where is Erwin Howard now? (Image via NBC)

The murder of the South Bay real estate agent, Julia Deede Keller, led to the arrest of her ex-husband, Erwin Howard, who had reportedly been stalking her and her new boyfriend, Bobby Lowe. Deede had been missing before she was found dead in her Mercedes Benz in San Diego on July 15, 2004.

Investigations led to Howard, and he confessed to suffocating Deede to death with a bear hug, per the Whittier Daily News. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for second-degree murder but was released after serving 10 years on grounds of good behavior, according to the Daily Breeze.

The Dateline: Secrets Uncovered episode titled Betrayal of Trust re-airs on May 30, 2024, at 8 p.m. EST on Oxygen and shows the brutal murder of Julia Deede Keller. The episode had originally aired on August 23, 2019. The official synopsis reads,

"Deede Keller has a loving family, a tight circle of friends and a new man in her life; when she vanishes, disturbing clues point investigators to a suspect with a dark secret; the case provides a twist that leaves the courtroom astonished."

Why was Erwin Howard arrested? Details explored

The popular real estate agent from El Segundo, Julia Deede Keller, had been found trunk of her car on July 15, 2004, in San Diego, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Deede had been missing since the last time she was seen with her new boyfriend, Bobby Lowe, on July 8, 2004, when the couple went out for a date.

Lowe and Deede's children failed to reach her via calls or texts when her son, Michael Keller, visited her Richmond Street home, where he found the dogs' water bowl bone dry. The Sun reported that Michael Keller filed her mother as a missing person on July 12, 2004. Moreover, the detectives allegedly found her wallet missing from her purse.

Julia Deede Keller (Image via Internet Archives)
Julia Deede Keller (Image via Internet Archives)

As the police began their investigation, they found all three of her family members, including her two children and her ex-husband, Erwin Howard, out of the county at the time of her disappearance. Bobby Lowe's alibi was allegedly checked out, and he was cleared. On the other hand, Erwin had mentioned being at a 10-hour shift at work on July 8.

Per computerized records at his place of employment, Erwin was allegedly at the American Airlines hangar at LAX. However, he had made an unexpected visit to his home country, Bolivia, on July 11, 2004. Deede Keller's body was subsequently found at the back of her 1999 Mercedes-Benz E320 on July 15, 2004, per The San Diego Union-Tribune. She had been wrapped in sheets, bound with red tape, and covered with two blankets.

Erwin Howard (Image via Internet Archives)
Erwin Howard (Image via Internet Archives)

As the investigations proceeded with statements from Deede's family and friends, the detectives found a possible motive for murder behind Erwin Howard's trip to Bolivia. They learned that he had become close to his ex-wife in the preceding six months, while a neighbor had mentioned witnessing a violent outburst between the ex-couple on June 30, 2004.

Erwin Howard had allegedly entered Deede's flat while she was showering and had confronted her about her new relationship with Bobby Lowe. Erwin had been reportedly stalking the new couple and had also slapped Keller the same day. He had mentioned to a friend that he wished to strangle her.

The detectives furthermore found a scribble of a face marked with an 'X' with a crossed-out 'DD' written next to it on Howard's calendar. Erwin Howard was arrested when sniffer dogs found Howard's scent on the red tape, which was similar to the ones used by American Airlines mechanics.


Where is Erwin Howard now?

Erwin Howard was arrested for the murder of Deede Keller (54) and held on $1 million bail, per The Los Angeles Times. In a turn of events, Erwin Howard took the stand and confessed to suffocating Deede in a fit of rage. As part of his plea deal, he apologized to Julia Keller's family and friends and received 15 years in prison for second-degree murder charges with eligibility for parole after 12 years.

However, Keller's family and the prosecutors would not be able to oppose parole. Erwin Howard was let go after serving 10 years and 5 months in prison.


Catch all the details of Deedee Keller's murder case as Episode 17 of Season 7 of Dateline: Secrets Uncovered airs on Oxygen on Thursday.

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