Friday, June 14, 2013
Out for Justice: Jardiel Vasquez
Five years ago a corrections officer went out for a jog, but he never came back, the victim of a hit and run. It's a case that Miami-Dade Traffic Homicide detectives are still trying to solve. 7's Patrick Fraser has more in tonight's Out for Justice.
WSVN -- The site of a prison fills most people with dread, but not Jardiel Vasquez.
Jardiel Vasquez Jr.: "He loved his job, being a corrections officer."
Jardiel was a corrections officer at the South Florida Reception Center, a former Army paratrooper who served in Korea and later joined the National Guard.
Jardiel Vasquez Jr.: "He just had a love for the community and for America."
He loved America, but most of all he loved his family.
Kristine Vasquez: "I was the baby. He made me feel like such a princess and so loved."
Jardiel lived in staff housing next to the prison and liked to jog with his dogs after work. That's what these pictures show him doing on September 11, 2008.
Sgt. David Greenwell, MDPD Traffic Homicide: "He left the house with his dogs, and then he never returned."
The prison staff is very close-knit. When they heard Jardiel was missing, they went to work.
Sgt. Greenwell: "First the family, then the community, one phone call after another, and they went out looking."
The next morning, cadaver dogs found Jardiel about 30 feet from the road, ironically across the street from the prison where he loved to work.
Sgt. Greenwell: "In my opinion, it was a very large vehicle that hit him from the back, that gave him the blunt trauma injuries, that picked him up and threw him into the field about 30 feet."
Jardiel, a soldier, a corrections officer, a husband, a father, was dead.
Kevin Vasquez: "It just hit me. I just dropped to my knees and started crying. I couldn't believe it."
Kristine Vasquez: "And you're just like, 'No, like no, this isn't happening,' and I felt my knees buckle. I started to cry, and I could hear everybody screaming and crying."
Traffic Homicide detectives combed this area on Northwest 41st near Doral for any pieces of the vehicle that hit and killed Jardiel. They found nothing, not even paint chips on Jardiel's body, which was normal. That's why detectives think the vehicle that hit Jardiel might have had a metal bumper. And detectives also wonder if the driver who hit him even knew what they had done.
Sgt. Greenwell: "Because I don't see how people can live with themselves knowing you killed someone. You took this good person off this Earth, who has a family who loves him, who's suffering every day."
For five years a family has suffered, badly.
Kristine Vasquez Jr.: "There's a lot of times where I wish I had my dad to talk to. I really valued his perspective -- still do -- and I just really miss not having him."
Five years later, detectives still visit the area to pay their respects to Jardiel. Detective Jones is retired, but this case is still on his mind.
Detective Robert Jones, Miami-Dade Police: "I'd like to see this case closed, if not by me, by someone in the unit."
Detective Greenwell is still actively looking for the person who hit and killed Jardiel.
Sgt. Greenwell: "It's a frustrating case. It's one of few -- I've been in Traffic Homicide cases for 14 years and getting close to 800 fatality investigations -- and this is one that sticks out."
Detectives are bothered by what happened to Jardiel while he was out jogging. Imagine how his children feel.
Kevin Vasquez: "It's our father. It's not an animal you just leave on the side of the road, and now we have to live with this for the rest of our lives."
They have to live with the loss of their father, but they don't have to live without knowing who hit and killed him on September 11, 2008. If someone told you about hitting someone near the South Florida Reception Center a few years ago, give Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers a call: 305-471-TIPS.
And if you have lost a loved one and want to remind people you are Out for Justice, give us a call. I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Out For Justice
Miami-Dade: 305-598-HELP (4357)
Broward: 954-796-HELP (4357)