The family is mourning the loss of their 6-year-old boy after he was struck in a hit-and-run crash.
Sunday morning at around 2:30, Kayden Valdez was was struck and killed near the intersection of Forest Drive and Interstate 77. And according to the Columbia Police Department, that was where the driver left the boy to die.
Kayden was at a family birthday party 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.
“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.”
Kayden died as a result of multiple traumas from the crash, according to an autopsy.
Authorities as well as Kayden’s family are requesting help in locating 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 set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for Kayden’s funeral expenses.
Police believe Kayden was hit by a dark-colored sedan. Anyone with information that could help police is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.