HOUSTON - A man was in custody Friday in connection with the killing of a young mother who was shot in front of her baby.
Neil Mukherjee, 20, was arrested Thursday night and charged with capital murder.
Houston police said Vanessa Rodriguez, 23, was shot to death in an apartment near Hempstead Road near West 43rd about 11 a.m. on Nov. 8. Rodriguez's 1-year-old daughter was in the apartment during the slaying. Police said there were no signs of forced entry and that an iPhone appeared to be the only thing that was stolen.
"Her husband was able to locate her iPhone about three-fourths of a mile away from here," Sgt. W.L. Meeler said. "We were able to locate that and get a scent."
Police dogs tracked the killer's scent throughout and around the apartment complex.
Police released surveillance video on Nov. 9 of a suspicious man seen around Rodriguez's apartment before and after her death.
Detectives said the man walked outside the apartment gate and got into a light-colored SUV and headed west on Pitner.
"She was a good wife, a good mother and a good person," said Rodriguez's husband, Josefino Ortega.
The couple had been married for eight years.
"We don't have issues with no one. We try to stay out of any situations," Ortega said. "You never imagine that this can happen to you ... and it did."
Investigators said they don't know the motive for the killing.
"Vanessa was a loving mother, and I don't see any reason that anyone would want to harm her," Meeler said.17350128
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