Frustration over non-arrest in three teens' deaths

Protesters gathered outside the Harris County Criminal Justice Center Friday afternoon to voice their frustration.

July 17, 2010 4:09:17 AM PDT
The man suspected of drinking and driving and killing three teens just one week ago is still on the run, and believed to be headed to Nepal. Family members of the victims spoke out Friday against the Houston Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney's Office for letting the man go free.

Prosecutors were meeting with the victim's families Friday. The circumstances surrounding the investigation in the deaths of their loved ones are troubling. What they are demanding now are answers.

Six days after three teenage girls were killed by an accused drunk driver who fled the country, the victims' families stood united outside the criminal courthouse chanting, "We want justice."

They criticized both HPD and the DA's Office, calling them equally negligent in the handling of this case.

"This man is out there, walking around as a free man in another country and my baby is dead," said Katty Alaniz.

Her daughter, Avianca Cortez, 13, was one of the girls killed that night.

"He took my only sister away from me, someone that was my best friend that I loved to death. I can't get her back. She can't be replaced. So he needs to get what he deserves. That's not fair that he's running out free," said Roxanna Alaniz, Avaianca's sister.

Sajan Timalshina, 25, was given a field sobriety test, but officers felt it was inconclusive so he was never arrested. Timalshina, who was forced to have his blood drawn, fled the country before the results came back. Tests results showed he was legally drunk.

While prosecutors and officers found Timalshina was here legally on a student visa, they didn't believe he was a flight risk.

Toshiya Davis' daughter, Detrihanna, 13, was among those who were killed. She made this tearful plea.

"I just want him to be brought to justice. It's just not fair that they let him go free. My daughter is not here. She doesn't have a choice. So, please, we just need justice on this case," she said.

Community activists plan on holding a town hall meeting and they are urging Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland and District Attorney Pat Lykos to attend and answer questions.

"This was an abandonment of justice," said a local community activist.

HPD responded to us in a statement which read, "Our sympathy and hearts go out to the family members of the victims involved in this accident. HPD has procedures in place to keep family members of victims informed of investigation status. We have contacted the victims' families several times and have enlisted the help of our Victim's Services Unit. We are open to meeting with them at anytime to answer any questions they may have pertinent to this investigation."

Chief McClelland has promised a thorough review of the procedures used in situations like this to see what, if anything, could have been done better.


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