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What is #WeAreAJ?

It began with our family looking for help for our missing family member, Alexander “Lil AJ” Silva III, who disappeared while wearing a Harris County Pre-trial ankle monitor.  After being denied assistance from police, media, elected officials, and Texas EquuSearch, we refused to give up. We became our own investigators, and learned how to harness the power of Tiktok to get our story out, amassing nearly 100,000 followers within 6 months and, in the process,  connecting with other families failed by the same systems that failed us(and ignored by Houston media).  Our movement was born.  

What is our movement?  Our ultimate goal is justice for our families, but, to do that, we need to make a lot of noise. We need the 7 million citizens of the Houston Metro Area to be aware of what’s going on around them, the young, primarily BIPOC (or financially disadvantaged) men and women whose lives are being brutally taken, the lack of available resources to help their families, and the local news media who consistently fail to tell their stories. The system is beyond broken, BUT we’re not letting them continue to get away with it.  We’re organizing. We’re protesting.  We’re going to beat them at their own game. 

 

We are being led and organized by someone with over 25 years of experience as a social justice advocate, who’s been down in the trenches with us, on the phones for us, interviewing authorities, holding their feet to the fire, and using her platform of a million followers to get our stories (and others like ours) out there.  She has a solid reputation, is well versed on the law, and wouldn’t risk her brand if she didn’t feel strongly in our cause.  

We have multiple protests planned in the upcoming months and are working on securing a billboard to be placed in Downtown Houston.

AJ's Disappearance Was A Magnifying Glass Showing a City and County With No One In Charge

Feel Free To Copy/Paste This Into Any Emails You Send on Our Behalf

My 19 year old nephew, Alexander Silva III aka Lil AJ, was a normal, American teenager (on the verge of manhood) when he got into some trouble, fell into an addiction, and began a relationship with an older, married woman. To us, he was of mixed ethnicities like the rest of us. To the world, he was a light skinned black male.  In April of 2021.  he went missing in Houston, Texas while wearing a pretrial ankle monitor. No officer tried looking for him.  After two months of red tape, we got his ankle monitor GPS log. His last days were spent at a warehouse in the Langwood area of Northeast Houston. 

 

Since cops wouldn't look for him and no big search and rescue organizations were willing to help (Texas EquuSearch denied us twice), I drove from New Mexico back to my home town of Houston to do the police department's job. I walked through bayous and sewers, climbed into man holes, I went to his last locations and interviewed neighbors, and took part in undercover, late night stakeouts. I even went to the warehouse where his monitor pinged, unmoving, for 41 hours. The first person I talked to, saw him shot by a fence and saw someone resembling his girlfriend cover him in garbage bags and, hours later, after people were able to pose with his body and take pictures with it, take it away. 

 

Cops still don't seem to care and they seem more intent on making my sister even more miserable by forcing her to be alone when she speaks to them. My sister has a documented learning disability and an auditory processing disorder. For most of our lives, I sat in with her whenever an important meeting arose, to ensure, no matter how long we sat there, that she understood what she was told.  Cops said if she didn't talk to them alone, they wouldn't talk to her at all. They claim that all of our witnesses are lying or made up their stories, to which I say, for what purpose? What could they possibly gain? It hurts me to say that the homicide detectives signed to our case are bullies on their best days and emotional abusers on their worst. Every person who's tried to present them evidence, myself included, is shot down. It's like they have some preconceived ideas for how our story should play out. 

 

My family doesn't come from money, which is why we haven't sued Harris County, but we want to. We aren't trying to get rich, but we need policy changes. Pretrial Ankle Monitors are passively monitored, and if they indicate a violation, no one is required to go look for the defendants.  Had anyone looked for him in April, he might still alive or, the crime scene might actually have a direct connection to whomever killed him.  

 

We weren't aware there was a crime scene for two months.  By the time we found out, evidence was destroyed.  However, our volunteer PI had two cadaver dogs on the site and both gave a full alert to the presence of copious amounts of blood. Homicide said it was likely the scent of another dog. In addition to getting little help from police, we have been physically stalked, harassed, and threatened and seem to have no recourse.  

We need someone big to bring awareness to this case, for AJ and all the other AJs out there who the system just doesn't seem to care about and for our family who shouldn't be left alone to fight this injustice. 

 

I’ve got eyewitness accounts of his body. I’ve got cadaver dogs that show blood. I’ve got a gps report that shows he was at this spot on this day where a murder occurred. I’ve got cousins with different stories about the last time they saw him. I’ve got their mom acting erratically when questioned. We saw men with laundry baskets of assault weapons walking around the neighborhood like it was just another day.  Is the mayor of Houston involved? We have video of a vehicle leaving AJ’s girlfriend’s apartment at 1 AM when she’s the primary suspect in his murder that is registered to someone connected to the mayor.  

 

We don’t come from money so finding a lawyer we can afford is almost impossible.  We need answers.  We need the city, county, and state to care.  Why does it seem like everyone is involved in covering this up? We need to prevent the other AJs out there from falling through the cracks.  And we need answers.  

And we're not the only grieving family that Houston/Harris County officials are failing.  We've met so many on this journey, mostly folks of color or those of lower socioeconomic backgrounds. This journey has become our journey.  The platforms we've been afforded are our platforms.  

 

If your family needs help, I can be reached via call or text at 214-997-4985, you can also see our story on tiktok @justiceforlilaj.

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