The family of a 6-year-old South Carolina boy is mourning after he was struck by a vehicle in a hit-and-run crash.
Around 2:30 on Sunday morning, Kayden Valdez was struck and killed near the intersection of Forest Drive and Interstate 77. The driver left the boy to die, according to the Columbia Police Department.
Kayden had been attending a family birthday party just a few yards away when he ran off from his mother.
“As they were walking out the door, Kayden got away from his mother,” Haley Loranger, a friend of Kayden’s mom, told WIS10. “Kayden is autistic. He loves to run and play, and he ran into the street ... His mother was away from him for literally two seconds, and it all happened so fast.”
“We have information from a witness who says he was driving along that roadway and saw the child walking on the side of the road,” Columbia Police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said, WIS10 reports.
"It was obviously strange that a child would be left alone at that time of night, or any time of the day. As he was trying to make his way back to the child, that’s when the collision [with the other vehicle] occurred.”
According to an autopsy, Kayden died as a result of multiple traumas from the crash.
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Now, authorities and Kayden's family are asking for help in finding the boy's killer.
“If you did do it, please come forward, give us that closure,” Kayden’s aunt, Ciara Valdez, said. “You already took something so important to us, something that we will never get back... but if you can just come forward, turn yourself in.”
Valdez has organized a GoFundMe page to help pay for Kayden's funeral expenses.
Police believe Kayden was hit by a dark colored sedan. Anyone with surveillance video or any information that could help police is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).