Missouri City police send out 2 wrong Amber Alerts before actual suspect was arrested

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ByMiya Shay via KTRK logo
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
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Two different men with the same name were identified as the suspect in an Amber Alert. Neither of them would be arrested, because they weren't tied to the case. So what are Missouri City police saying about the mistake?

MISSOURI CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- Investigators are pushing back against questions of why two men who had nothing to do with a child abduction were the focus of an Amber Alert last Friday.

Missouri City Police Department's Chief Michael Berezin told ABC13 in a phone call that the focus should be on how his officers, along with the Houston Police Department and the FBI, were able to locate the correct suspect and the missing girl hours after the initial Amber Alert was issued.

Jose Paniagua, 27, is currently in the Harris County Jail charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child.

HPD and FBI found Paniagua and the 11-year-old girl at a home that the suspect shared with his family in the 7700 block of Avenue B on Friday afternoon.

However, Paniagua was never the focus of an Amber Alert

Initially, on Friday morning, Missouri City police issued an Amber Alert with a photo of the girl and a man named Daniel Diaz, who lives in southwest Houston.

A few hours later, Missouri City police put out a new flyer, with a new Daniel Diaz. That man also had nothing to do with the case, but did live next door to the suspect on Avenue B.

Missouri City police then put out a surveillance video of the truck which the girl left in. Fortunately, that truck was correctly connected to the actual suspect. Neighbors said the truck belongs to Paniagua's mother.

On Monday, Berezin told ABC13 over the phone that the two men named Daniel Diaz should have been called "persons of interest," instead of "suspects."

He said there will be some retraining of his officers in that respect. Berezin also wants to retrain his officers to not speak to the media on these matters until a suspect has been clearly identified.

Berezin said his investigators were given the name "Daniel Diaz" by the victim's grandmother. ABC13 reached out to the grandmother but has not received a response.

ABC13 contacted one of the Daniel Diaz and spoke to the mother of the other Diaz. Both men were frustrated, but one was upset enough that he contacted a lawyer.

Meanwhile, the case of Paniagua, the actual suspect, is now being handled by HPD.

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