August 10, 2022

The grieving mom of a 14-year-old Texas boy killed in a police-involved shooting insists cops are “hiding” something in her son’s death.

Dora Vela said Thursday that she’s left with more questions than answers in her son Juan Herrera’s shooting death on March 3.

“I want to know what they’re hiding from me,” Vela told The Post.

Vela scrambled for answers after reporting her son missing the day of the shooting — unaware that he had been killed at an apartment complex in Midland in a shooting that involved a Midland County Sheriff’s deputy.

She said when she went to cops asking for the identity of who had been killed, they told her it wasn’t her son.

“They told me that the person who was dead was over 18 [years old] and named Jose, that it wasn’t [Juan],” the mother of four explained. “How did they misidentify the body in the first place? I have so many questions for them and they don’t answer me.”

Vela says police first told her her son Juan Herrera had not been killed in the shooting and that it was someone over the age of 18 named Jose.

Vela spent the last week asking law enforcement if the body had been identified and even offered up her DNA to use for a possible match.

“I think they’re hiding something from me,” said Vela. “If they couldn’t put my son’s photo next to the body and say, ‘This is Juan or no, it’s not Juan,’ I think there’s something so wrong with his face. Maybe he was shot in the head.”

Finally, confirmation that the dead teen was in fact her son came Tuesday night.

The body was sent to Fort Worth for an autopsy since Midland doesn’t have a medical examiner.

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Vela said her request to drive nearly five hours to see her son was denied.

“I just want to get his body and put him to rest. Now I’m starting to think I need to hire an attorney because I need to find out what happened to my baby because he was … my baby,” said Vela.

The cop who pulled the trigger works for the Midland County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office said it referred the shooting investigation to the Texas Rangers and won’t be releasing any information.

The Texas Rangers said it also wouldn’t be releasing information until the case goes to a grand jury.

“There were some challenges identifying the body because there was no driver’s license or government ID when it was found,” admitted Sgt. Steve Blanco of the Texas Rangers.

Juan’s body was positively identified through dental records by the Dallas County Coroner’s Office, News West 9 reported.

Vela tearfully described her son as a good artist and someone who liked to draw. She says he missed his girlfriend’s quinceanera, which was a few days after his death.

The deputy who was involved in the shooting has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard in such cases.