HOUSTON (KTRK) --In an Eyewitness News exclusive, the man named a person of interest in a child indecency case at a Houston Target said he didn't do anything sinister and he didn't take advantage of a child.
Raymond Mendez told abc13's Steve Campion he wants investigators to find the right person. Mendez, his husband and his lawyer walked into the police substation on Mykawa Road just before 1pm Monday.
Mendez voluntarily gave a statement to detectives, then spoke with Campion following the meeting.
"It makes you feel like everybody is staring at you. Knowing that I didn't do anything like that, it's a bad feeling. I just want to clear it up," said Mendez. "I just want them to find the right person, the person who did this. It's a lot of stress. You don't even enjoy life anymore. You have that feeling that people figure you're guilty when you're not."
Last week, HPD released surveillance photos of a man pushing a stroller inside the Target at 6801 West FM 1960. They called him a "person of interest."
Police said they were investigating after a 9-year old boy claimed a man molested him inside a bathroom stall. The incident happened around 5pm on Friday, May 13. The boy's mother was using the women's restroom at the time, according to detectives.
Mendez's laywer, William Van Buren, also spoke out. He warned this is a cautionary tale and the public rushed to judgment.
"The problem that we had is the way it was portrayed in the media. He quickly turned from being a 'person of interest' into a suspect. That's furthest thing from the case. The problematic issue and what we need to keep in mind when it's grabbed on and seized by the media. The public has a perception of automatically the person committed some type of offense," stressed Van Buren. "We're confident everything is over. We're going to move forward with Mr. Mendez' life."
Van Buren said the description of the suspect does not match Mendez. He explained Mendez was at the store picking up prescriptions with his 2-year-old daughter.
"The specifics do not match Mr. Mendez," said Van Buren. "If any incident occurred, it would have occurred at a very quick, very small timeframe. If there is an individual out there, obviously the search is still on. There are some other persons of interest that HPD is potentially looking at."
Van Buren said his client was never inside a restroom with another person. He said they've closed the chapter about Mendez' potential involvement.
"I have the support of my family and some real, good friends. You know, people who believe in me," said Mendez. "I think I can get past it and get back to a normal life."
HPD told abc13 the case is still an active investigation. We also reached out to the victim's mother. She said her son is still traumatized by what happened inside the Target bathroom. He can't use public restrooms anymore.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).