6 weeks after murder charge, man walks free

Esmerelda Herrera slayed in March, police continuing investigation

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio family is hoping for answers in an unsolved murder case.

Six weeks after the slaying, a man was charged with murder but is now walking free.

With emotions running high, Cristina Herrera, the mother of victim Esmerelda Herrera, made a plea to the one who took her daughter's life. "I'm a mother. I hurt, my heart hurts, I know I won't ever get my daughter back. I know it, but I need for him to come out and say, 'I did it,'" Herrera said. 

On March 2, 2011, Esmerelda Herrera was killed, then her apartment was set on fire.

The first family member on the scene at the Mitchell Village apartments, Leonardo Herrera, sensed immediately it was more than a fire. Six weeks later, Jose Flores was charged with murder.

According to Leonardo Herrera, cell phone records indicate his sister and Flores had been in communication throughout day, as well as earlier in the week.

Despite the evidence, Flores was released a month after his arrest. "I don't understand what's wrong with the evidence," Leonardo Herrera said.

Division Chief of Major Crimes for the District Attorney's Office Bill Blagg said they're looking for a more thorough investigation of the evidence.

"What we're going to do is send that evidence back (to the lab) so they can broaden that sampling and test a little bit more of that original evidence," said San Antonio Police Spokeswoman Sandy Gutierrez.

Gutierrez added that it is an active case and that they are optimistic about the investigation.

"To be with my mom and feel her pain, to be with my brother and see the sadness in his face, he took something from us that night. He didn't just kill Emme, he killed me, he killed my mom, he killed my brother, he killed my Dad, he killed all of us," said Esmerelda's sister, Diana Herrera.