Thursday, January 22, 2009
Out for Justice: Renada Evans, Rafael Torres
Four years ago, on a February morning, a man plowed into a car parked in an emergency lane and left its driver, a young woman, dying on the side of the road. As Patrick Fraser tells us in tonight's Out for Justice, the Florida Highway Patrol is asking for the community's help in finding the man who killed her.
WSVN -- Renada Evans had a good job, a great life and big plans for the future.
Jennifer Richards, Renada's mom: "She was very bubbly, loving, caring. Everybody who knew her loved her, you know? That was her personality."
But nearly five years ago, her life ended on Interstate 75 near Miramar.
Craig Stevens: "A deadly wreck on a South Florida Highway."
Renada had pulled over on the side of the road to wait for a co-worker.
When he pulled up he found a car had smashed into her Dodge Neon.
Calvin Smith, Renada's boss: "I saw a light in the grass, and I called her cell phone, and she didn't answer the phone, man."
The driver who hit Renada was going 75 miles an hour. She was trapped inside her car, and by the time paramedics cut the vehicle open, she was dead.
Jennifer Richards: "And about one o'clock, a state trooper showed up to inform me what had happened. I didn't believe it. You know, when I saw him, I was like, OK, what hospital is she at so we can go? And he was like, 'She didn't make it to the hospital.'"
Renada was gone. The driver who hit her got out of his car and ran away.
Eight hours later, police arrested the man they say was the driver, Rafael Torres, but he refused to talk to them.
FHP Lt. Robert Sierra: "According to some of the statements he made to a third party, was that he fell asleep while he was traveling northbound on 75. The accident happened, he got nervous, he doesn't have a license and he fled the scene."
Without any proof Torres was the driver, FHP had to turn to fingerprints and DNA to build a case against him. While they were doing that he bailed out of jail. A year later, they were ready to charge him with killing Renada, but by then Torres had disappeared.
Normally, investigators use a suspect's family to track them down, but Torres' relatives have their own problems.
Lt. Sierra: "Some of his family members we tried to contact, they are all wanted also, so they haven't been any help."
Five years later, no help, no arrest and no relief for Renada's mother.
Jennifer Richards: "It never goes away. Every day we think about her. We have times when we think too much about her and we break down because it's still fresh."
Cry for her lovely daughter and pray for her alleged killer's capture.
Jennifer Richards: "The first couple of years a lot of hate, a lot of hate, but you can't go on hating someone you have to realize that, and now all I want is justice served."
Florida Highway Patrol is searching, but Torres has seemed to just vanish.
Lt. Sierra: "We've done a work history on him, and there's no documentation that he's been working. To have a warrant issued to Mr. Torres and for us to not have any leads to find him, it's just frustrating, and it's tough for the family."
Frustrating, especially when you know someone knows where Rafael Torres is hiding.
Jennifer Richards: "Please come forward, please give me some closure to this unfortunate incident."
If you have any information about this man, Rafael Torres, who FHP says plowed into a young woman, then walked away while she died, please call Broward Crimestoppers at this number: 954-493-TIPS.
And if you've lost a loved one, if you feel they have been forgotten while their killer gets on with their life, give us a call.
And don't forget, many people are still out for justice.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Out for Justice