Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Carmel on the Case: A Father's Fight
Tonight, a crime caper that spans two continents. A woman wanted in the death of a South Florida man is allowed to leave the country, not once, but twice. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero with this special assignment report, "A Father's Fight."
WSVN-- Michael Shiwraj is a man in mourning.
Michael Shiwraj: "He was part of me, as if, he was part of my being."
Michael Shiwraj: "He was a very fun loving guy, very kind."
His son, Bryan, was killed in a horrible car crash.
Michael Shiwraj: "He was alone in the hospital room, ICU."
In June of 2006, Bryan was a passenger in this car. Authorities say Abigail Damoah who had a suspended license was behind the wheel. The Florida Highway Patrol says as the car exited I 95 at Commercial, it was doing 80 miles per hour.
Cpl. Richard Nardiello, Florida Highway Patrol: "To enter into a curved ramp at that speed, is reckless."
The car crashed into a tree, both were injured, but Bryan's injuries were life threatening. When Michael found out he rushed to Bryan's bedside.
Michael Shiwraj: " I kissed him, and I said, 'Bryan, I'm here, daddy's here,' he did not respond."
Bryan never did respond and was eventually taken off life support.
Corporal Richard Nardiello investigated the case for the Florida Highway Patrol. He says Bryan's death was vehicular homicide.
Cpl. Richard Nardiello: "She put someone else's life in danger for the way she was driving. She needs to be held accountable."
Abigail Damoah was charged, but today, nearly four years later, she has never gone to trial. Authorities say she was in the hospital when she first learned she could be criminally charged.
Cpl. Richard Nardiello: "I would be seeking charges for vehicular homicide. She looked at me, there was no remorse in her eyes."
Damoah, a British citizen, left the hospital and left the country before those charges could be filed.
Cpl. Richard Nardiello: "She had used her passport and had gotten a flight out of the United States to England."
But this April, Damoah came back to the U.S. and was immediately taken into custody. Michael thought Damoah would finally face justice, but she was released on bond.
Michael Shiwraj: "I thought that if a person, who is charged with homicide, and ran away, skipped town, and then returned, that the flight risk will be high again, that she will abscond again."
Prosecutors had argued Damoah was a "flight risk," but judge Carlos Rodriguez reduced her bond from $175,000 to $20,000.
Michael Shiwraj: "Nobody cares less about what was going on here."
A month after being released on bond here, Damoah was arrested for prostitution in New York. When released, it is believed she left the country again.
Marc Sultan is a private investigator hired by Bryan's family.
Carmel Cafiero: "Where do you think she is today?"
Marc Sultan: "She's back in the UK."
Damoah's attorney also believes she is in England. Judge Rodriguez thinks Damoah will eventually be brought to justice.
Judge Carlos Rodriguez, Broward Circuit Court: "In general, I can tell you that England is a civilized country, and you can run, but you can't hide."
But, for the family this father's fight seems to have no end in sight.
Michael Shiwraj: "We are talking about a killing here of somebody Carmel, it could have been your son, it could have been their son, it could have been anybody's son."
Carmel Cafiero: "Michael vows to do everything he can to keep the pressure on, but at this point there is no firm indication that authorities have a plan to bring Abigail Damoah back to South Florida."
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