An attorney for the man who was videotaped with a Bengal tiger outside a Houston home has given police officers information on where to find the big cat, he told the Post on Tuesday.
Michael W. Elliott, who represents Victor Hugo Cuevas in a 2017 murder case, claimed he gave “vital evidence” to Houston police officers as to where he could find the tiger, but insisted that he speak to his client before he released the information publicly.
“I have information that will help identify the tiger and the owner of the tiger, and I have passed it on to the Houston Police and the Federal Fish and Wildlife Agency,” Elliott said during an interview.
Elliott said he did not know the exact location of the animal but insisted that the information he provided could directly lead to the location of the tiger and ending the saga that has gripped West Houston since Cuevas, 26, on Sunday was caught on camera to bring him back out.
Cuevas then drove the Tiger off in a white jeep when police responded to the West Houston residence and evaded police during a brief chase, police said.
The murder suspect, who has been in custody since November, was later arrested Monday night at a Fort Bend County home, Houston police said the tiger’s whereabouts were unknown.
Elliott insisted that the tiger does not belong to Cuevas, but declined to comment on his client’s connection with the animal and whether he cared about it at the time of his escape.
“He’s not the owner,” said Elliott. “He doesn’t have a tiger.”
Cuevas, who was charged with a crime who escaped arrest, remained in custody in Fort Bend County Jail on Tuesday. Elliott accuses the police of rushing to the court, assuming the tiger is his.
“They don’t really care the truth,” said Elliott. “I’ve tried to work with them, but they just want to lock people up.”
Elliott said Cuevas wasn’t the only person found in the house by police officers and was referring to a woman who was also there. It is unclear if she is Cueva’s girlfriend, the lawyer said.
Cuevas rented the house, Ron Borza, commander of the Houston Police Department’s Major Offenders Division, told reporters at a news conference the Monday before his arrest.
Investigators believe Cuevas also kept two monkeys in the house, Borza said, adding that their whereabouts are unknown and that his girlfriend may have taken them away.
Police said Tuesday that the big cat hunt was ongoing.
“We’re trying to find the tiger,” police spokeswoman Jodi Silva told the post early Tuesday. “We still don’t know where it is.”
Silva said there was no evidence that the animal was “roaming free”, but police received mixed information about its whereabouts when they asked Cuevas’ attorney to contact the police.
“There were contradicting statements and we try to have ongoing discussions,” said Silva.
Cuevas had been in custody since November for allegedly shooting Osiekhuemen Omobhude outside a sushi restaurant in Fort Bend in July 2017, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Cuevas has alleged in court documents that he shot Omobhude in self-defense after the man pointed a gun at him. He should be on trial again on July 12, the newspaper reported.