Watch CBS News

'I'm ready for justice and I'm ready to fight:' Dorian Serrano's mother speaks for first time since remains found on Montour Trail

Mother of Dorian Serrano speaks for first time since her son's remains were found
Mother of Dorian Serrano speaks for first time since her son's remains were found 03:07

JEFFERSON HILLS, Pa. (KDKA) - A Clairton mother is speaking out for the first time since her son's remains were found, and his death was ruled a homicide. 

Dorian Serrano, 18, went missing nine months ago, and police have yet to file any charges. On Saturday, Serrano's mom returned to Jefferson Hills to fill the hole where her son was buried and exclusively invited KDKA to join her.

Dominique Burwell was filled with emotions as she looked over the spot where police found the remains of her son, Dorian Serrano, tucked into the woods of the Montour Trail.

"It's anger. It's beyond anger, just thinking my baby was in a fetal position in this hole," Burwell said. "You want to protect your kids at all times, and I feel like I lost one."

It pains her to think about what her oldest child went through when he went missing in June of 2022. He was just 18 years old, finishing high school online when he suddenly went silent.

"His last message going out, he said he was 'not okay,'" Burwell said.

Burwell said she immediately filed a report with Clairton police but days later learned it was never filed and went to Allegheny County police.

Months went by, with the search eventually leading Burwell to the Montour Trail in the Clairton area. Then in November, she got the news.

Related: Death of missing 19-year-old Dorian Serrano ruled homicide

"[Police] said, 'We found Dorian.' I said, 'Okay,'" Burwell described.

The detective took her to the trail in Jefferson Hills.

"The mud kept getting deeper and deeper, and we're walking, we're still walking, and we're still walking," Burwell said.

That walk still haunts her, leading to the hole where her son's body was buried for nearly half a year.

By February of 2023, police officially identified the remains, and Burwell was finally able to hold his funeral last weekend.

"It was almost like putting a little band-aid on top of this big open wound," Burwell said.

Recently the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Serrano's death a homicide.

Burwell said detectives told her Serrano was shot in the back twice, and they know who did it. She said police told her the person responsible is already in custody on a different case and that they will be filing charges in her son's case shortly. Burwell also said police intend to charge another person with helping to bury her son's body.

KDKA reached out to Allegheny County police for comment but would not confirm this information, saying they "can not discuss any potential charges or suspects," and describing the case as "still open."

Now that Serrano is at rest, his mom is turning her focus to holding those responsible accountable.

"He's found, he's found, and now I'm ready for justice, and I'm ready to fight," Burwell said. "Y'all could have just left him, but for this, you're going to pay."

At the same time, Burwell is trying to find some peace for herself, filling the hole on the trail with soil and planting roses.

Burwell wants something growing from that spot, covering any dark reminders with beauty.

"It's a little bit of closure but not a lot," Burwell said. "But it's also a reminder to keep pushing."

Burwell hopes to get approval to place a bench at the site to memorialize her son in the years to come.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.