The case of a little boy stabbed more than 20 times while walking home from school shocked, saddened and angered people all over Houston. Vigils, marches and meetings were held demanding justice for 11-year-old Josue Flores.
More than a year later, there is still no justice. The District Attorney's office announced Tuesday they have dropped charges against Andre Jackson because DNA evidence failed to positively link him to the crime.
May 17, 2016: Josue was stabbed to death while walking home from Marshall Middle School on Fulton Street. His sister Sofia said he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up. "But I know he's going to be my guardian angel," she said.
The 11-year-old was stabbed more than 20 times.
May 24, 2016: On the same day he was laid to rest, surveillance video is released showing Josue's final moments during that fateful walk home.
In the video, Josue, wearing a green backpack, walks alone on the sidewalk. He appears to nervously look behind him multiple times as he's walking.
Flores was walking south on Fulton Street. Two blocks away, out of site of the camera, someone attacked and stabbed the boy to death.
A week after the boy's death, the Houston Police Department said that a knife had been recovered from a storm drain not far from the crime scene, on North Main near Henry.
Officers were responding to a call from HISD police, who said they received a tip about the Flores case. A woman flagged down an HISD officer and told him she had seen what she thought was a knife in the gutter, according to HPD spokesman John Cannon.
Witnesses in the area when the discovery was made say the knife is giving the community new hope that Houston Police may soon close in on a killer.
"It gives people hope, hope that they'll catch the killer before anything else happens," said Juan Cortes.
HPD later said that the knife found was not connected to the crime. Police are not commenting on whether or not they have found the murder weapon.
May 27,2016: Reward in the case increased to $20,000
May 18, 2016: Che Calhoun was arrested for the murder of Josue Flores. Calhoun was taken into custody following a scuffle with Metro Police. Police said that the Calhoun's clothing matched the description of the boy's murder suspect.
May 20, 2016: Charges were dropped against Che Calhoun after surveillance video proved he was in Pearland when Josue was murdered. Detectives were back to square one.
“We wound up locating several witnesses from his alibi and interviewing them. Then late last night, we recovered physical evidence that showed he was in Pearland and couldn’t have been at the location where the murder occurred,” said Robert Blain, an HPD homicide lieutenant.
KHOU 11 News spoke with the wrongly-accused man after the charges were dropped.
Calhoun said despite the mistake, he harbors no ill will to the authorities for the way they did their jobs. And like the family of the victim, he says he also wants the killer caught.
“I swear I hope the man gets hung, whoever did this. I’m just as mad as you are or even madder because it almost was me hung.” he said.
June 2, 2016: HPD releases video of "person of interest" in Flores case. Investigators said the person of interest in the new video matches the description of the suspect seen running 4 minutes after Josue's murder. June 3, 2106: Andre Timothy Jackson, 27, was arrested and charged with the murder of Josue Flores. Jackson, a homeless veteran, was reportedly staying at the Salvation Army shelter in the neighborhood.
June 4, 2016: Jackson makes his first court appearance. The judge ordered him held on a $100,000 bond.
June 5, 2016: Jackson sobs as disturbing details in the Josue Flores case are read aloud in a courtroom. Prosecutors said Jackson admitted to being the man on captured multiple surveillance cameras and admitted to being in the area when Flores was attacked.
June 16, 2016: New details emerge about Andre Jackson and his history with police in Bellaire.
July 18, 2017: In a devastating setback for Josue's family, prosecutors announce they have dropped charges against Andre Jackson because DNA evidence was inconclusive.
Prosecutors said the the results did not allow them to move forward with the case. The DA's Office said that the results have taken the 'better part of a year' to receive.
"The results of the DNA and blood analysis are, at best, inconclusive and in some respects exclude him as a suspect in the case. Rather than risk double jeopardy by trying to go to trial in a case where the evidence is too weak and then be forever barred from going after him or anybody else, for practical purposes, it is our decision to dismiss the charges and release the man from jail," said Tom Berg with the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
Jackson was released from jail through a back door, out of the sight of the media.
Prosecutors say Jackson is still a suspect in the case. They would not comment as to whether or not there are more persons of interest.
Jackson's attorney says he is not surprised by Tuesday's announcement.
"Since about November of last year, my office and myself, we were convinced that Mr. Jackson could not have committed this offense. We’ve spent a great deal of time going over the evidence, going out to the scene,” said Jerome Godinich, Jackson's attorney.
HPD Chief Acevedo released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
At the time of the arrest, our homicide investigators developed sufficient probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant for Mr. Andre Jackson for the murder of Josue Flores. That evidence was submitted to the DA's office and charges were filed on the suspect. Following today's announcement that charges are being dropped against Mr. Jackson, we are now looking at this case as an ongoing murder investigation and will devote whatever resources needed to bring closure to the Flores family.
In order the make the arrest, police say they had to recreate the steps they believed Jackson took to and from the crime scene.
"We basically had to go backtrack from the scene of the crime, the path we believe the suspect took," said Lt. John McGalin. "We had to build a track the suspect built based on video surveillance. We believe we know the track the suspect took, and that took a lot of time."
Police received a number of tips from community members that led to Jackson's arrest.
May 18, 2016: More than 100 people marched through the streets of north Houston where Josue was killed.
May 21, 2016: Marshall Middle School held a vigil for Josue. Students prepared songs and even an interpretive dance that brought almost everyone in the crowd to tears.
May 22, 2016: Hundreds line up at a barbecue fundraiser to help the Flores family pay for Josue's funeral.
May 23, 2016: Hundreds of people lined up at the viewing for 11-year-old Josue Flores. His small casket was flanked by photos of a bright, smiling boy. Josue's sister, 24-year-old Guadalupe, told her mourners her tragic loss has turned into a spiritual gain. "I'm going to do the best that I can to help people. I just want to spread Josue's love."
May 24, 2016: More than 500 people packed a small Catholic church to say their final farewell to Josue.
Cameras were not allowed for the service, but KHOU 11 News was invited inside before the funeral got started. There was no shortage of heavy hearts, as so many people tried to find solace in this devastating case with no justice.
August 10, 2016: A vigil was held for Josue on what would have been his 12th birthday.
“It’s bittersweet. We wish he was here. But still, that’s not an excuse for us not to do something for him,” said Juan Flores, Josue’s older brother.
May 18, 2017: Memorial service for Josue on one-year anniversary of his heartbreaking death. "It's been really hard," said Guadalupe Flores, Josue's older sister. "As long as we love him, the pain is to be there. We miss him."
July 18, 2017 - The community reacts to the charges dropped against Andre Jackson.
More than a year after the crime, a lot has changed in the neighborhood where Josue was killed.
May 19, 2016: Hundreds of people packed a meeting to talk about the homeless problem in Josue's neighborhood. The Flores family and Mayor Sylvester Turner attended.
June 1, 2016: Demonstrators gathered again to march down Fulton Street and past Marshall Middle School. Like other marches, participants demanded justice for Josue. But they also called for unity between blacks and Latinos. Josue was Hispanic. The suspect being sought is black.
June 8, 2016: Near northside parents fed up with crimes committed by the homeless crowded Houston City Hall to demand change.
August 20, 2016: Josue's neighborhood launches Safe Walk Home Northside to help keep other children safe as they walk home from school. Dozens of people signed up to stand on their porches and watch the kids each day. They were also trained on first aid and how to identify suspects.
October 5, 2016: Near northside residents petition for expansion of civility ordinance.People in Josue's neighborhood say they’re fed up with the vagrants, drugs, and prostitution in their neighborhood. Now they are asking the city to take a stand so that their families don’t have to live in fear anymore.
June 9, 2017 - SB 195, also known as 'Josue's bill', was signed by Governor Greg Abbott. The bill will provide funding for transportation for 'public school students subject to a high risk of violence while walking to school'. The bill goes into effect on September 1.
KHOU reporter Grace White spoke with Josue's sister Guadalupe after charges were dropped against Jackson.
"We don't want to do protests. We're just trying to be realistic and realize that we'll just be getting in the way of the authorities. We actually need to cooperate with them, we need to get together as a community and try and see if anyone saw anything else or anything useful. We can't let the anger get the best of us," said Guadalupe.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said that HPD homicide detectives 'believed then and continue to believe' that Jackson is the suspect in this case.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.