Chuck Rosenthal: So Tough on Crime That a Suspect Goes Free

The DA doesn't make deals. And that's why Jesus Salazar is living the free life in Venezuela while a teenage girl lies dead, stabbed 26 times.

That doesn't mean Carrie Ruiz has been sitting around the house.

In addition to waging a full-time campaign to extradite her daughter's killer, she is active in the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children and in 2006 testified before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations alongside her husband concerning the Republican immigration reform bill.

Carrie Ruiz comes across as tougher than nails, but the veneer is only paper thin. Underneath is a woman who is just barely holding on.

Felicia Ruiz thought she was going to a party the night she died.
Photo courtesy of the Ruiz family
Felicia Ruiz thought she was going to a party the night she died.
Jesus Salazar posed for this mug shot before police let him go.
Jesus Salazar posed for this mug shot before police let him go.

"There's no such thing as closure," she says. "I don't believe in it."

Every day, says Lou Ruiz, he hears or sees something that reminds him of his daughter. When he spots a penny on the ground, he always makes sure to pocket it.

"We call them 'angel pennies,'" he says, "and Felicia is throwing them at us saying, 'Hey Dad, here I am.'"

They still have their bad days, but fewer than in years past. But the constant fighting to get Salazar back to Texas takes its toll.

"I have days where I just wish the Good Lord would take me," says Carrie Ruiz. "I'm tired, tired of struggling every day to get through each day without Felicia, without hearing her voice or seeing her long hair swinging over her shoulder as she comes up to hug me. And I'm tired of knowing this man who murdered her is still out there and that there are ways to get him, but because of the DA and politics we're still here at a standstill.

"We know who did this and where he is," says Carrie Ruiz, "and we're going to fight until the day we die because I'll be damned if I let Jesus Gerardo Salazar get away with murdering our daughter. There's no way. I will see him in hell."

chris.vogel@houstonpress.com

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