Family grieves over death of toddler

June 2, 2008 7:02:18 PM PDT
The grandparents of a two-year-old girl killed in a hit and run this weekend spoke with ABC 7 Monday. They're hoping that a witness will come forward and help Napa police find the driver.

When Betty Reynolds woke up at 5 a.m. on Saturday, she found her granddaughter missing. The back gate was locked, but not the front door.

People have been paying their respects and dropping flowers off at the little girl's memorial. Mattea's mom came out to read a few of them asked us not to turn on our cameras and we said yes, but the childs grandparents did ask to talk to us.

"But then, when I walked back through the living room, the other door was unlocked and I came out and I searched and I searched and I searched and I searched," says the victim's grandmother Betty Reynolds .

Police believe two-year-old Mattea Reynolds walked from the apartment through her play structure and past the gate and onto Old Sonoma Road and a car eventually hit her.

"We have a witness that was driving to work that saw the toddler in and about the street and also about the same time, saw a white 1980s American made four-door sedan with chrome trim," says Commander Andy Lewis.

"I also want to put a plea out for the person who hit her. Please turn yourself in. Do what's right," says the victim's grandfather Ron Fryer.

Police also want to talk to a Hispanic woman who was walking to work when she saw Mattea wandering in the street.

"She came across a juvenile hall employee who was walking to work and noted to her that she thought it was odd she had seen a toddler out in the roadway on Old Sonoma Road," says Commander Andy Lewis.

But, by the time the juvenile hall employee found Mattea, she was unconscious. On Monday, the family reached out to the anonymous woman.

"I know you are probably hurting and you are probably beating yourself up because you didn't grab her, but that's ok, just call the police," said Betty Reynolds.

Neighbors say the outside gate has been broken for some time and that it had broken hinge. We contacted the owners of the building, Napa Valley Community Housing, and they were reluctant to talk about it. They say they have had no complaints regarding the gate and feel very bad about the situation.

However, they say they are even more surprised that the toddler was able to leave her apartment on her own and wander off they way she did.


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