HOUSTON - "It's hard. It's been real difficult," said Roland Castillo, first cousin of 34-year-old Rene Cantu. "Me and him were real close."
Cantu spent last weekend with Castillo and his family.
He returned to his home in Montrose Sunday night.
Castillo says he didn't get too worried when Cantu didn't return text messages.
"I wasn't worried at all," he said. "I had no clue something was wrong."
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But after two close friends of Cantu's contacted him, Castillo knew his cousin Rene was gone.
"I didn't know about the murders on Monday," he said. "Someone sent me a link to the one on Montrose once I read. Montrose, it hit me. I told my wife, that's Rene."
Police say Rene Cantu was jogging when he was shot to death at 6:40 a.m. Monday in the 4200 block of Montrose Blvd.
Nothing of his was taken, so cops are at a loss for a motive or suspects.
"It's hurting a lot. I'm still in shock. I still can't believe why somebody could be so cruel and do this to him," said Cantu's aunt Yolanda Rodriguez.
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The University of Houston sent us this statement: "The Cougar family is mourning the loss of Rene Cantu, a brilliant writer and communications coordinator in the U of H Division of Research. He was a hard-working team player with an amazing sense of humor that came out through his written word. During this difficult time, our thoughts are with Rene's family and all who are affected by this devastating loss."