HOUSTON (FOX 26) - FOX 26 News first came into contact with the Schwartz family in 1996, two years after 20-year-old Douglas Schwartz and another 20-year-old college student, Eric Heidbreder, were shot to death. It didn’t take police long to charge their killer, Chiron Francis. But it would take two decades to find Francis.
Douglas’ father Daniel walked door to door in Francis’ neighborhood in 1996 as he asked residents if they had seen the wanted killer.
Each year on April 11, Daniel and Debbie Schwartz would go to the spot where their son was killed to leave flowers. They never gave up their efforts in the search for Francis.
“He never gave up, my mom never gave up, they continued to fight every single year,” said David Schwartz, Douglas’ brother.
“That was my son, my first born child," said Daniel Schwartz. "I love him more than anything.”
Francis was finally found in Venezuela. He was recently convicted in Fort Bend County and was sentenced to 75 years in prison.
“I think the jury put all the pieces together and they got it right,” said David. "Obviously, it’s not going to bring my brother back, but the next best thing is hopefully, he’s going to spend the rest of his life behind bars.”
“I really don’t like the word 'closure,'” said Daniel. “Closure to me means I would have my son Douglas back. I feel I have justice. Twenty-three years is a long time to wait for justice.”
Chiron Francis, 44, will not be eligible for parole until he 71 years old.