Rony Ortez's family told me they never lost hope. As you can imagine, emotions ran deep as the news began to sink in.
For Mirian Ortez and her family, it was a moment 11 years in the making. Cold case investigators had finally solved her brother Rony's murder.
Mirian said, "Even though I'm crying, today is one of the happiest days of my life."
In June 2000, 20-year-old Rony was found shot to death behind A-1 Autos in northwest Harris County. Investigators say Ameer Mohammed, who was 19 at the time, brokered a deal for $7,000 with Ortez, who was looking to buy a used car and rims for his younger brother. Ortez was never seen alive again.
Sgt. Eric Clegg with the Harris County Sheriff's Office said, "The defendant in this case did come up in the original investigation. They were just not able to get enough information to file criminal charges on him."
The trail in the case grew cold until sheriff's investigators started re-interviewing witnesses and were able to glean additional information that ultimately tied Mohammed to Ortez's murder.
Mirian said, "There's no words to express our gratitude to everybody."
Mohammed is now 30 years old, currently in prison for murdering his sister and he is eligible for parole. Even though he was sentenced to life, justice in the Ortez case will still be served.
"Now we're able to tell our mom there's somebody out there who's going to pay for my brother's death," Mirian said.
Investigators say Mohammed and Ortez had briefly worked together. That was the extent of their relationship. Mohammed has been charged with capital murder in this case.