Bryan Herrera was riding his bicycle down the street from his home in Allapattah when he was shot in the head.
He was 16.
After Bryan's funeral, his family couldn’t bear to stay in their apartment; the neighborhood reminded them too much of his death. They now live in Davie.
Five years later, Bryan's shooting remains unsolved. Anabel Herrera, Bryan’s stepmom, recently found out his death has been labeled a cold case. The case is still open, but there are no new leads.
Herrera spoke with WLRN after the five-year anniversary of her stepson's death. Here's what she said:
It was December 22nd. It was a Saturday morning right after winter break from school. He was a 10th grader, so they had gotten this winter school packet they had to complete.
He was going to go to a friend's house to do the package so they could have the rest of the winter break to just, you know, hang out and play video games.
He jumped on his bike and his friend lived about three blocks away and about a block and a half away or two blocks he was confronted by someone and he was murdered.
He was a good kid. He was a straight-A student.
He used to call me "fatty." So every time I used to get home he would like pinch me like a little Pillsbury Dough pinch. “Hey fatty, you going to give me a kiss?” And that's one of the things that really resonates inside me every time I see his image.
I'm like, "Hey fatty. I wish I could have that kiss now."
You think good things happen to good people. You think that neighbors are going to talk and they're going to want a solution for this, but that hasn't been the case and as the years go by you start getting a little bit more anxious and desperate
It's been five years and one month and still no arrest.
Desperation has started to sink in.
Everybody believes that this is just something you're going to eventually in time just get over and you don't because you have to deal with the backlash of everything. You have to deal with your own depression that kicks in. You have to deal with your children's way of [how] they have handled the death.
I have a 10-year-old who was 5 at the time and she's still drawing pieces about her brother. I mean, for a time we had to even take away all the pictures from the house of Bryan because it was affecting her so much. She was crying at night. It was affecting her at school.
So it's not just that we buried him and then a couple of months later everybody's fine. No. A couple years later is when everything starts coming on.
My husband was very close to Bryan. Sometimes I see him come out of the shower with his eyes all watery or come home and I'll see his eyes are watery and it's because he's been crying on his way home, but he won't let me see anything like that.
And I've gone to grief groups. He doesn't want to go. It's painful to talk about.
We got guns that we never had before.
My husband was like, "We have to get guns,"... "get the concealed weapons permit. We have to prepare ourselves."
My husband feels like he wasn't there to protect Bryan. So now he needs to protect the rest of his kids.
I'm always going to the crime stoppers link and I'm linking it to my Facebook page; I'm putting up his pictures and I'm doing things to remind the community-- Bryan, he mattered. And we need to solve this.
Back in December, I went in and I saw he was the very first one on the crime stoppers' page and in cold cases and there was a sinking feeling. And I said, "Oh no. This is scary."
You know, he may never get justice. And I'm not willing to face that.