Exclusive  from the Brownwood Bulletin and www.brownwoodtx.com:

By Rick Phelps rick.phelps@brownwoodbulletin.com

Dave Lowery, brother of murder suspect Mike Lowery, said he feels “without hesitation” that his brother murdered Amber Lowery, the Rising Star woman who has been missing since July 23.

“I hate to sound crass about it because of the kids being involved,” Dave Lowery said. “But there is too deep of a history of threats and abuse.”

Lowery, 36, an active duty Air Force lieutenant colonel stationed in Florida, said via telephone Wednesday afternoon he was not aware of Amber Lowery's disappearance until July 28 when he was contacted by Mike Lowery's ex-wife. “She sent me a Facebook message and said 'What is up with Mike's wife disappearing?' I immediately recalled a conversation I had with Amber in 2009. She told me at that time that if she ever disappeared and her oldest son was not with her that she did not go willingly.”

The relationship between Mike and Amber Lowery has always been volatile. “(Mike) always treated Amber like a second-class citizen,” Lowery said. “If he could not contact her on her cell, he would throw a fit, and sometimes go to wherever she was.”

One such incident occurred while Amber Lowery was attending helicopter training in Missouri in 2011. The Bulletin obtained a criminal background check that shows Mike Lowery was arrested and charged with domestic assault-2nd Degree. “Amber told me that she was in her training and that one day, Mike and their oldest son just showed up,” Dave Lowery said. “He beat the hell out of her in front of their 3-year-old son and then took off. The docs had to surgically reconstruct her nose. He has always said that if she doesn't answer her phone, she is out 'screwing around.' My brother is abusive. Amber has told me in the past that Mike would tell her if she tried to leave, he would take their son and run and then make her disappear.”

Lowery said his brother Mike has always been “quick tempered." “It would never take much to set Mike off,” Lowery said. “My mother and aunt have spoken extensively about when Mike was in psychological counseling from a young age.”

Growing up in Florida, Lowery noticed behavioral issues with which his brother struggled. “Mike thought he was the smartest, most athletic and biggest Casanova around,” Lowery said. “And the thing is, he wasn't the smartest, most athletic or the ladies man he thought he was. He would always pick out the weak guy, women, anyone he thought he could push around. He was always trying to prove his alpha male status.”

According to Lowery, his brother was married once before and the relationship did not end amicably. “Mike's ex-wife left him because of abuse,” Lowery said. “It wasn't physical, but mental and emotional.”

Between the two marriages, Mike Lowery dated “several” women, Dave Lowery said. “He was with a lot of women during that time, but it wouldn't take long for them to see how he was and they would leave.”

Despite the urging by members on both sides of the family, Amber Lowery chose to stay in the relationship. “We would all tell her she needs to leave,” Lowery said. “But Amber did not want to do it. The family dynamic was so important to her. She would say the family needed to stay together, Mike was going to change. Amber visited divorce attorneys at least three times that I know of and then she would change her mind for the sake of the family.”

Lowery, who said his brother “is a legend in his own mind and is never wrong,” would probably not confess to any wrongdoing involving Amber Lowery, unless there was a benefit attached. “He won't own up to anything,” Lowery said. “That's his way. The only way he would do that is if he thought he might get a deal from law enforcement.”

CPS officials have removed Amber and Mike Lowery's two sons, ages 5 and five months from the home.