HOUSTON (AP) — The mayor of Houston on Monday urged anyone with information about the unsolved slaying of an 11-year-old boy last week as he walked home from school to come forward.
"What will help a community and the city to heal is to find the perpetrator of this particular crime," Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a City Hall news conference.
A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever fatally stabbed Josue Flores.
"There is a monster who is out among us," Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said. "You may know who he is. ... Your conscience needs to be your guide."
Funeral services were set for Tuesday for the sixth-grader who was attacked on a sidewalk as he headed home from a science club meeting at his middle school just north of downtown Houston.
Police have said they have some leads but are withholding specifics. Authorities also say DNA testing of evidence from the scene is being expedited.
A 31-year-old man with a long criminal history was arrested last week for the slaying, but a murder charge against him was dropped Friday when detectives found evidence to support his alibi that he wasn't involved in the killing.
"An innocent person was arrested but once that information became clear, then he was let go," the mayor said. "So we apologize for putting him through that."
Several witnesses told officers they heard loud screaming the afternoon of May 17 and saw Josue struggling with a man. The boy collapsed on the grass near the sidewalk and the man ran off. A bystander flagged down police and alerted them to the wounded boy, who was taken to a hospital with multiple stab wounds and pronounced dead a short time later.
Police have said they're looking for a black man about 180 to 220 pounds and 6 feet tall, who wore a black shirt and black pants and had a green jacket draped over his shoulder.