Mother searches for justice 16 years after son murdered

An Austin mother is making a public plea for any information in her son's unsolved murder.

"I think about what could have been," said Cristina Chavez Jesurun. For 16 years Jesurun has held on to hope that her son's killer would be brought to justice. On April 13, 1999 someone shot Mario Chavez, 18, in the head and set him on fire outside his car on Nichols Crossing Road in Southeast Travis County.

The morning of her son's murder Jesurun knocked on his bedroom door to say goodbye and tell her son that she loved him. Later that evening two women in black with victim services on their jackets knocked on her door.

"The day my son was murdered I felt like someone had stabbed me in my heart, dug a hole in it and twisted it," said Jesurun of the emptiness she has felt.

Shortly after receiving the news she opened a blue spiral notebook and started to write everything down. From funeral arrangements to conversations with detectives she wanted to keep it all.

"The pain hasn't gone away," said Jesurun.

Mario was last seen with three other men. Following his murder detectives arrested a 19-year-old for capital murder but that charge was dismissed leaving Jesurun feeling helpless.

"At the time we had enough probable cause and it was a circumstantial case but the people in charge of the legal system decided there wasn't enough evidence to convict," said Roger Wade with the Travis County Sheriff's Office.

Mario's murder is one of 40 cold cases for the Travis County Sheriff's Office dating back to the 1970s.

"I can't think of a murder that isn't gruesome but this is particularly haneous. We want to bring closure for the family and bring those involved to justice," said Wade.

"I'm trying to find answers as to why they would kill him. Was it over jealously, money or drugs I really don't know. I need answers," said Jesurun.

Someone knows something and all they need is a fresh lead. Jesurun hopes that someone will come forward.

"Maybe that one piece of information will help us push this case into the courtroom," said Wade.

"When he was killed all of his dreams were shattered," said Jesurun.

Jesurun started a Facebook page and is offering a $10,000 reward. If you have any information about this cold case you are urged to call detectives at 512-872-49-75.