It was a little after 2 a.m. when Steven Castro walked out of an east Houston night club and into the parking lot. Suddenly, a fight broke out. Some of the people involved were armed. And when it was all over, Castro lay dead, murdered by a man with a knife.
That was two days before Christmas, 2006.
The case remains unsolved.
Castro's mother, Maria Romo, still mourns the loss of her beloved son, and refuses to lose hope that one day his killer will be locked up behind bars. Friends and family urge her to move on, but she will not. For her, it's desperately important to keep his memory alive.
"When you hear about murders," Romo tells Hair Balls, "they're on the news for a day or two and then everybody forgets. A lot of people think that time goes on and you have to get over it. Everyone tells me so. But it's not your child who was killed. And to me, it's so important to remember."
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Romo plans to be among the many homicide survivors and parents of murdered children who will band together Sunday evening at the Houston City Hall Reflection Pond to observe the fourth National Day of Remembrance.
"This year's theme is, 'Remember, Remind, Respect,'" says Andy Kahan, Houston's Crime Victims Advocate. "And it's a call to action for all of us who are concerned about homicide. The event is open to the public to support not only homicide survivors but law enforcement and the victims organizations that assist survivors. We've got to remember that the sudden, unexpected and violent loss of a loved one results in grief like no other."
For the first time ever, Houston and Harris County's top elected officials will be at the event. Mayor Annise Parker, HPD Chief Charles A. McClelland and Sheriff Adrian Garcia are all scheduled to appear and speak prior to a candlelight vigil. The event begins at 6 p.m.
"I feel like our voices are finally being heard," said Romo when informed that Parker and others would be in attendance Sunday. "It means that our victims matter."