Los Angeles

Family Still Seeking Justice 1 Year After Hit-Run Driver Killed 3-Year-Old, Father


One year later, the family of a father and 3-year-old girl killed in a hit-and-run crash in Long Beach is still hoping the driver will be brought to justice.

Jose Palacios Gonzalez and his daughter, Samantha, died after a man driving a pickup truck slammed into the family’s apartment near Rose Avenue and Artesia Boulevard last year. Gonzalez died at the scene while Samantha died later at a hospital.

The suspected drunk driver, Gonzalez’s wife told NBC4 Thursday, looked her in the eyes before fleeing. “He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Help me, help me.’ And he fled like a coward,” Esnelia Palacios said.

The last year, she said, has been one of pain for her and the rest of the family, including her teenage son.

Police identified the suspect as Octavio Montano Islas and released a photo of him shortly after the crash. On Wednesday, a year to the day since the crash, the Long Beach Police Department put out a video asking for leads.

“As your police chief, I can tell you that this crime will not go unanswered, and it cannot go unpunished,” LBPD Chief Wally Hebeish said while also asking Islas to turn himself in.

Palacios thinks someone is helping to hide the man suspected of killing her daughter and husband. She wants the reward money for information leading to an arrest and conviction to increase from $25,000 to $50,000 in order to encourage more possible tipsters.

“I want to tell Octavio Montano Islas: turn yourself in,” Palacios said.


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