India, the missing tiger tantalizing Houston residents since Mother’s Day, has been safely found, according to the city’s police department.
He was unharmed.
The tiger vanished last Sunday after a bizarre standoff between it and an armed, off-duty deputy who encountered it in the middle of a residential street.
A man ushered it away, then fled from police, who found him later but not the cat.
He turned out to be Victor Hugo Cuevas, who was out on bond in connection with a 2017 murder case, adding another layer to the mystery when he denied ownership of the tiger.
His lawyer said he had given information to police about the tiger’s whereabouts nearly a week ago. But his bond on the murder charge has since been revoked, and he is back in custody.
And hadn’t closed in on the tiger until Saturday night.
“Commander, it’s been a long week looking for this guy,” someone can be heard saying off-camera as Houston Police Commander Ron Borza scratches the apprehended tiger on the back.
“It really has been,” Borza responds. “But we got him, and he’s healthy.”
Investigators said earlier in the day they believed it was likely still in the city, being hidden from view and passed between private homes.
“I believe since Monday that tiger’s probably been passed around six, seven, eight times to different locations here in Houston,” Borza said during a morning news conference. “I don’t think it’s out of Houston yet. Maybe out of the county, but I don’t think so. I think it’s still here in Houston.”
Police had received hundreds of tips throughout the week, after the case drew national media attention when the video showing the off-duty deputy’s encounter with the big cat went viral.
The incident also prompted animal rights activists to renew pressure on Congress to pass the proposed Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would place new limits on tiger ownership and breeding.