Family affected by HPD homicide probe into possible botched murder investigations speaks out

HPD says an internal probe shows 24 murder cases weren't properly investigated. Now we're hearing from a victim's family
April 23, 2014 8:36:19 PM PDT
The Houston Police Department admits an internal investigation shows dozens of murder cases weren't properly investigated. For the first time, we are hearing from one of the families connected to one of those cases.

It was two years ago on Tuesday that 26-year-old Denis Brisuela was shot to death in his driveway. His wife thought Houston police had forgotten about him, until a couple of weeks ago when a new detective called her saying the old one had done little work.

Two years ago as a family and a friend were returning home from an errand, they were ambushed in the driveway of their north Houston home by an armed robber. Brisuela was shot to death. His then 11-year-old stepdaughter Nicol remembers the scene.

"I asked what happened and they say they kill him," she said.

Brisuela was by all accounts her father.

"He was a good man," Nicol said.

Houston police Sgt. Ryan Chandler was assigned to the case. Brisuela's wife Maria Cortez says she talked to him twice. He told her he had a possible suspect, but nothing ever came of it. He didn't return her calls. And in the end, she felt like there was no interest.

Brisuela's case, along with 20 others, were cited in Chandler's termination papers as reasons why Houston Police Chief Charles McClleland fired him. Specific to the Brisuela case, it reads Chandler failed to conduct a comprehensive investigation and in fact did nothing on it for a year and a half.

On Wednesday, almost two years to the day since the murder, Cortez is still emotional. But she's focused on her children; the youngest, Denisse named for her husband, was born after he died. She will learn about him from pictures, while the rest of the family is hopeful a new detective will find the killer.

Cortez tells us she is glad there is a new detective on the case but is still skeptical. The chief said all the vicitm's families would be hearing from newly assigned investigators.

Meanwhile, Sgt. Chandler's union attorney has told us he plans to appeal his termination.


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