Police are still searching for the driver who fatally struck a 4-year-old boy and kept going on Sunday in Milford, Massachusetts.
“To know he is gone, it’s just really hard,” says Raquel Tacuri, a cousin of the victim.
Jhonthan Loja was attending an Easter BBQ when he was killed on Water Street. His family told NBC Boston that he was inside a fenced in area playing when somehow he made it outside and onto the street. Seconds later, he was struck and killed.
“He knew because they said that once he hit him, a couple of feet up, he stopped and once he didn’t see the child got up, he kept driving,” says Tacuri, referring to the hit-and-run driver.
Police initially said a red Scion was captured on surveillance cameras from a nearby gas station, identifying it as the vehicle that struck the boy. However, they announced Tuesday that they do not believe that vehicle was involved, but that they would like to speak with the occupants to determine whether they saw Loja in the area.
“The person who hit the child must have been scared of something. Maybe he didn’t have a license or something. But regardless, it’s devastating and unacceptable,” said Nathalia Teixeira, who lives several blocks away from where the accident happened.
Meanwhile, family members have started building a memorial at the spot where the child was killed.
“He loved riding his bike. He loved his ninja turtles,” Tacuri told NBC Boston’s Jason Frazer. “His smile was so contagious.”
Neighbors we spoke with said Water Street is notorious for speeders.
“Maybe they should put a light in or a couple of lights in,” said neighbor Angela Lancia.
Police haven’t released any other details regarding the vehicle the suspect was driving. But Loja’s family has a message for the driver.
“We need justice. And you’re going to give it to us,” said Tacuri. “Please turn yourself in. This little boy didn’t deserve to die.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been set. To help Loja's family with the expenses, click here for their GoFundMe page.