HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The number of homicides in the city of Houston declined, and the clearance rate improved in 2022, according to data released by the Houston Police Department.
It is a positive trend but brings little comfort to Debbie Daws.
"It hurts, and there's just question after question. Why her?," Daws asked.
Daws' daughter Shaelin Broussard was the last murder victim of 2021. She was shot and killed outside her home on Orleans Street in east Houston in the final minutes of that year. Debbie said she couldn't think of anyone who would want to hurt her daughter.
Police said it was a drive-by and the shooter was in a black sedan. No one has been charged.
"I have hurt in my heart, but I have forgiven them. I just want them to give me peace. Give me closure," Daws told ABC13.
The heartbroken mother begs for a break in her daughter's case. Broussard was the 473rd murder victim in a year with the highest number of murders in a decade.
HPD hopes the trend is turning around.
According to HPD data, there were 281 murders within Houston city limits in 2019. In 2020, that number went up to 400, and in 2021, when Broussard was killed, it reached 473. With a day to go, there have been at least 433 homicides this year. That's an 8% decrease compared to 2021.
But how many have been solved? In 2020, HPD reported a 52% homicide clearance rate to the FBI. It was 55% in 2021, and in 2022, it was 69%. The department says the improvement results from an expanded homicide department and new technology.
Daws hopes one day, her daughter's case will be cleared. The 26-year-old left behind a young son, Noah, who will turn 3 in February. Those responsible have caused her family so much grief.
"They're going to have to deal with it one day. You don't just get away with something. When you do something wrong, you have to pay for what you do," Daws said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.