Police hope surveillance video provides clues to killer of young mother


Police are showing surveillance video of the man who may have pulled the trigger. There are still many unanswered questions in the murder of a 23-year-old mother. Police are at a loss for a motive.

The crime involved a quiet family – two parents who both worked to support their two young children. But all of that ended Thursday.

Josefino Ortega asked his face not be shown, but that his wife's story be told. The last time he saw her was when he went to work Thursday.

"I was running late to work so I couldn't even kiss her for the last time," Ortega said.

A few hours later at the couple's apartment in northwest Houston, someone knocked at the door and police believe Vanessa Rodriguez, 23, answered, thinking it was her sister. Moments later she lay dying on the floor, fatally shot, as her one-year-old daughter looked on.

Surveillance video may be a grainy image of the man who did it. He's described as Hispanic, thin, about 5'7", pulling a hoodie over his head as he walked into the complex.

Nothing was taken except for the victim's cell phone, found a quarter-mile away. He got the attention of people working at the complex.

"The way these maintenance guys described it, he was dodging them," explained HPD Sgt. Warren Meeler. "He just didn't look right to them."

An SUV can be seen leaving the parking lot just before Rodriguez called 911 saying she'd been shot. She gave no clue as to who her killer is. The complex is home to a lot of immigrant families. Police say they want to catch a killer, not ask about anyone's immigration status. A husband whose children no longer have a mother wants that as well.

"I ask the help of the community because yesterday it happened to my wife. Tomorrow it could happen to somebody else's wife," Ortega said.

HPD is trying to retrieve other surveillance video which may reveal more clues as to who this person of interest is. Anyone who may have information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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