Documents detail HPD homicide sergeant's missteps in nearly 2 dozen murder cases

We've obtained documents that detail what the investigation uncovered, and the developments may have the victims' families stunned
April 12, 2014 5:04:06 AM PDT
We have new information about what sparked the Houston Police Department to launch a rare investigation into its own homicide division.

Eyewitness News has obtained documents that detail what the investigation uncovered, and the developments may have family members of murder victims stunned.

We are finally learning why the bulk of the 24 murder cases in question were problematic and they point to one homicide detective. His disciplinary records suggest he did very little in some cases, he did no more than make the murder scene.

According to city termination records for Sgt. Ryan Chandler, who is linked to 21 of the 24 problematic cases, he was untruthful and did little investigative work.

On the murder of a baby in north Houston in August 2012, he did nothing records say beyond the initial call until he knew he was being investigated. He entered no follow-up reports for three years in the case of a man who was shot to death at this southwest Houston apartment complex. And the examples continue. One follow-up report took four and a half years, another two and a half.

In one case, he never returned to a murder scene, in another never tried to find a suspect and when told to refer a case to a grand jury, he didn't.

Maria Romo, whose son Steven's murder case is not part of the 24, is still angry.

"Until you walk in our shoes of losing a loved one, you don't know how it feels," she said. "The lack of following up and investigating, there no excuse for that."

Chandler's union attorney says Chandler was overwhelmed and had asked for a break. The records suggest Chandler's cases in question were not time consuming.

"He was lazy. He was a liar," HPD Police Chief Charles McClelland said last week. "He was not forthright with his supervisors and he misled his other co-workers."

Seven others -- two lieutenants, another sergeant and four officers -- were also disciplined.

The Houston Police Officers Association says it will not comment about the allegations until arbitration is over.

An attorney with the association tells us Chandler is appealing the indefinite suspension.


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