"Even though we had a high probability he was gone, we always held on to hope", the chief said, adding that he told Perez' wife that they were still looking for him and checking hospitals.
He was last seen Sunday, leaving for work. The aftermath of storms like Harvey are marked by heartbreak and, as Long said while encouraging Americans to support its victims, moving forward will be about helping Texas "find a new normal".
"And his response was, 'We've got work to do, '" the chief said, choking back tears.
Once the dive team got to the scene, it was "too treacherous to go under and look for him", Acevedo said.
A dive team, with the help of volunteer rescuers, recovered the officer's body from an underpass 5m deep that was flooded with water.More news: Brussels knife attacker shot by soldiers in Brussels has died: prosecutors
A Houston police officer drowned Sunday morning as he drove his patrol auto into work downtown, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Perez was two days shy of his 61st birthday and had been with the department for 34 years, Acevedo said. Perez served on the force for 34 years and was now assigned to the traffic enforcement division. When he didn't show up, officers reached out to his family who said he'd left at about 4 a.m. Sunday. His wife had asked him not to go into work that day, but Perez responded with, "We've got work to do", Acevedo said.
"Steve was one of the sweetest people I've met in this department", Acevedo said.
"When you have faith, there's hope", Acevedo said.
But southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana still would see "relentless torrential rains", with another 6 to 12 inches of rain across the upper Texas coast through Friday as Harvey continues to move slowly east over the Gulf of Mexico maintaining tropical storm force winds of 45 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said.