11 hours passed after dying mom's 911 call before Texas deputies found her, sheriff says

ByJessica Willey KTRK logo
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
11 hours pass after dying mom's 911 call before deputies find her
As a son sits in jail, charged with his mother's murder, his family is questioning how the Harris County Sheriff's Office handled her 911 call.

HARRIS COUNTY, TX. -- As a son sits in jail, charged with his mother's murder, his family has questions about how the Harris County Sheriff's Office handled the response to her 911 call.

Investigators believe Ana Iris Melendez, 52, called 911 for herself Saturday night. On the call, which lasted 30 minutes, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said someone was in distress and there were gunshots.

A timeline based on our Houston sister station, ABC13's sources and Gonzalez revealed that 11 hours passed before she was found.

The victim's daughter, Iris Melendez, told ABC13 that her family is upset about what they are learning about the response.

Ana Melendez was a mother and grandmother who went to church every Sunday and loved her family, her daughter said.

"Most importantly she loved my brother. She didn't give up on him. She had faith God was going to heal his mental illness," she said.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Christopher Melendez shot his mother at least twice at her north Harris County home on Verde Trail Drive near Airtex.

Gonzalez said, at first, deputies did not know where to go.

"The initial call we received, we did not have a specific address," he told reporters Sunday morning, adding that deputies walked the property, knocked on the door, and talked to neighbors, who said they did not hear gunshots.

The call was at about 10:15 p.m. Saturday. Two hours later, the department got an alarm call that sat on hold for three hours. When deputies arrived, the garage door was open, and the victim's car was gone.

Deputies became concerned, the sheriff said, but it was not until 9 a.m. on Sunday that her body was found.

In response, HCSO told ABC13 that investigators are reviewing "all aspects of the investigation."

Melendez was arrested around 3 a.m. Sunday morning after leading Houston police on a chase that started on Beechnut because the driver was speeding and weaving, HPD said.

Melendez was charged with DWI, evading arrest, and unlawful carry of a weapon. Sunday afternoon, he was also charged with murder.

On Monday, a hearing officer set his bond at $300,000 and brought up the 911 call.

"It was alleged that Mr. Melendez shot his mother while the 911 operator could hear her pleading for her life," the hearing officer said.

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