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Houston's Weird Tiger Story Gets Even Weirder

Man who fled with animal is a murder suspect; he's in custody, but tiger is still missing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2021 6:37 AM CDT
Houston's Weird Tiger Story Gets Even Weirder
This 2017 booking photo provided by the Houston Police Department shows Victor Hugo Cuevas.   (Houston Police Department via AP)

"The whereabouts of the tiger are not yet known." It's not your typical line in a big-city police department update, but it applies in Houston. The strange tiger tale began Sunday night, when residents of a city neighborhood spotted a loose tiger and called police. When officers arrived, a man fled with the animal in an SUV and eluded capture. On Monday night, police said they had arrested 26-year-old Victor Hugo Cuevas, who it turns out is out on bond on a murder charge, reports CNN. They caught him in a home in Fort Bend County, but they still don't know where the tiger is. Cuevas has been charged with evading police in the tiger incident, and he could have his bond revoked in the murder case.

"The last we know of, the tiger was very safe and unharmed," says his attorney, Michael Elliott, per the Houston Chronicle. He provided no more details but said his client planned to lead police to the animal. It wasn't clear whether Cuevas owned the tiger—his attorney doesn't think so—but police suggested he had been taking care of it, along with two monkeys, in a residential home. Keeping a small monkey is legal in Houston, but keeping a tiger requires a license for exotic animals, per the AP. Violation of that is a misdemeanor offense. The murder charge, meanwhile, dates back to 2017. Authorities say Cuevas shot a man to death outside a restaurant, and attorney Elliott maintains it was a case of self-defense. (Read more tiger stories.)

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