Diane Santiago has been calling detectives and any investigators who worked on her son's case in the years since he was killed. She said Thursday that her calls and prayers have finally been answered now that her son's killer is behind bars.
"My heart will never be the same," she said.
Santiago carried two photos with her as she entered court: One of her first-born child, Richard Montclair, and the other a mug shot of the man accused of killing him.
"He literally robbed him of his life and robbed a part of me," she said.
WATCH: ABC7 Eyewitness News' 1993 report on Montclair's killing
Montclair was walking into a friend's house near 78th Street and Hamlin Avenue in 1993 when he got into a confrontation with then 18-year-old Edgar Ortega, police said. Witnesses told police that Ortega fired multiple shots at Montclair, who was unarmed. One of those shots struck Montclair in the heart, killing him.
Montclair had just graduated high school and had dreams of becoming a police officer.
"He was a good kid," Diane Santiago said of her son.
Montclair's family said he died trying to protect his sister from Ortega and the gang that he was affiliated with.
"We didn't have a father growing up so my older brother was my father so he tried to keep us away from all that stuff and he lost his life because of it," said Bobby Santiago, Montclair's brother.
Chicago police tried to find Ortega after the shooting, but he fled to Mexico, leaving the Santiago family without closure for decades.
But Diane got the call she had been waiting for since 1993 earlier this week: Police said Ortega was in custody after he was deported from Guadalajara.
Thursday was Santiago's first time laying eyes on her son's alleged killer.
"He's been on the run for 25 years. He led his life. He's had birthday parties, he's had Christmases-he's had all these things with his family," she said. "That was robbed from me! I didn't have that!"
Santiago and her sons cheered when a judge ordered Ortega held without bail.
"Twenty five years ago he took my brother. Sixteen years ago this guy had a daughter. He had a kid that he shouldn't have because he should be locked up," Eddie Santiago, another of Montclair's brothers, said. "My brother would have kids right now too."
"We waited a long time for this and now, finally, justice," Diane Santiago said.
While none of this will bring her slain son back, Diane Santiago said she will rest easier with the knowledge that Ortega is behind bars.
Ortega is due back in court March 26 - the day before what would have been Montclair's 44th birthday.