(Video: ABC 13)
The mother of a slain nine-year-old implored the public to help find the suspect behind the chain of events that led to her daughter’s murder after a Texas grand jury failed to indict the man who shot her, “He gets to see the light. My daughter now doesn’t.”
Gwen Alvarez was joined by her family and legal counsel at Crime Stoppers of Houston for a press conference Tuesday where they offered up to a $30,000 reward toward the arrest of a suspect deemed the killer of nine-year-old Arlene Alvarez in February. The development came after a Harris County grand jury refused to indict Tony Earls, 41, for aggravated assault after his actions were deemed self-defense.
“I lived that moment and I go back to that day every night. And I know what happened,” Alvarez explained as she worked to maintain composure through a statement. “And maybe Earls was not accountable for his actions, but he knows…with what intentions he shot at our vehicle, because self-defense is not more than nine shots. He knew what he was doing and he knew that he was going to intentionally kill whoever was in that vehicle.”
As reported by ABC 13, Earls and his wife were at a Chase Bank ATM on February 15 when they were targeted by a robber. Earls opened fire on the vehicle that he believed the suspect had gotten into which actually had Arlene and her family within.
“It was proven that [the suspect] never jumped into our vehicle, so I don’t understand [Earls] innocence,” Alvarez expressed. “He gets to see the light. My daughter now doesn’t. My daughter is still dug down, underground. I don’t know if she is even good spiritually.”
Shortly after Arlene’s death in February, her grieving parents had detailed the events when her father explained that he told his family to take cover.
“Arlene was the only one who didn’t get down. She had her headphones in,” he added.
I can't say it enough. Your heart breaks for Arlene Alvarez's family right now.
Her mother, Gwen, clutched a teddy bear with her last heartbeat inside during a news conference today.
They are having a vigil for the 9-year-old at 6 at 2900 Woodridge where the shooting happened. pic.twitter.com/fwkfmZVN8N
— Mycah Hatfield (@MycahABC13) February 16, 2022
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg explained that despite Earls having been arrested for aggravated assault, the case was dropped and could not be presented again to the grand jury.
“The grand jury, a random group of ordinary people in Harris County who answered their jury summons, heard the evidence in this case as presented by our prosecutors, heard all of the possible charges – from murder to manslaughter to aggravated assault to criminally-negligent homicide. That grand jury also heard possible defenses,” Ogg said.
Alvarez went on to lament the nature of society in the wake of her daughter’s death where senseless violence has continued. “There’s a lot of people dying, there’s a lot of children dying. Our future is dying. What is wrong with all of you guys?” she asked. “Where is the humanity? Where is your heart? Where is your soul?”
After the grand jury’s decision, Earls’s defense attorneys Brennen Dunn and Myrecia Donaldson issued a statement: “We would first like to extend our condolences to the Alvarez family once more. There is no greater loss than that of a loved one, and we continue to grieve for the loss of such a beautiful soul. While that life weighs heavy on us, we are happy with the grand jury’s finding in this case. Their decision reflects our position since the onset of this case.”
“The worlds of two different families were clashing at once, from different perspectives,” they went on. “Mr. Earls did what we believe anyone in that situation would have done. We are relieved that, despite the emotion and tough decisions that had to be made in dealing with this case, justice was served for Mr. Earls. We do not envy the difficult task of the grand jury, but we certainly appreciate their careful deliberation. We stand in support of the Alvarez family as justice continues to be sought for Arlene Alvarez. Mr. Earls is prepared to assist authorities however he can, to bring the person responsible to justice.”
They concluded regarding the search for the robbery suspect, “We also hope that the DA’s office will not be so hasty in the future to charge the best available person, but rather, the most appropriate one.”
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