Suspect in cold case found, victim's family says, "We’re burying him all over again"

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on September 30, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Updated Sunday, Sep 30 at 11:19 AM

HOUSTON-- Gloria Balerio was sitting in her living room 10 years ago when she received the call informing her that her nephew, P.J. Rodriguez, was shot.

She was in her living room again on Saturday when she learned his suspected killer had finally been found.

"I had tears, there were tears of joy, there were so many tears of joy," Balerio said. "But now it’s like we’re burying him all over again."

The murder happened on May 19, 2002 and triggered a 10-year campaign to find who did it.

The night he died, Rodriguez had left a graduation party with friends. But they scattered when a group of armed men tried to rob them near Rodriguez’s mother’s apartment.

"They were on drugs to begin with and they wanted more drugs," Balerio said.

Three of them were eventually arrested and are serving life sentences.

But witnesses said it was Rogelio Mora who actually pulled the trigger. Investigators believe he had fled to Mexico.

Rodriguez’s family feared he would never be found.

"Every year it was hard for us and it still is, especially at Christmas because his birthday is in December," his mother Rachel Munoz said. "May and December are the hardest because he died just before Mother’s Day."

The Cameron County’s Sheriff’s Department is not revealing how they captured Mora, but confirmed he was detained on Thursday in Olmito.

Rodriguez’s family is bracing for the chance to confront him soon.

"My son, you know he’s dead now," Munoz said. "I don’t think he [Mora] should have a life either."

"There is a lot of sadness now," Gloria Balerio said.

Balerio said deputies told her she should have to wait until Monday to learn more about the arrest of her nephew’s alleged killer.

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