A small piece of headlight cover was enough to lead Anaheim traffic investigators to the perpetrator of a November 24th, 2018, hit-and-run that turned deadly.
Shortly before 9pm on Saturday the 24th, the Anaheim Police Department received reports of a woman lying in the roadway near to the intersection of Haster Street and East Leatrice Lane.
Upon arrival at the scene, city police officers found that the woman, identified as Jacqueline Díaz-Lara, aged 18 and of Anaheim, appeared to have been struck by a vehicle and was suffering from major injuries.
Díaz-Lara succumbed to her injuries three days later at UC Irvine Medical Center, where she had been admitted at the time of the incident.
A small piece of debris from the suspect vehicle—the only clue at the scene—allowed investigators to identify the make and model of the car, determined to be a red 1998 or 1999 Isuzu Rodeo or Amigo.
A search of DMV records for similar vehicles registered in Orange County pointed to an Isuzu Rodeo driven by Osvaldo Soto-Juárez, aged 20 and of Anaheim. The vehicle both matched the police description and was missing the piece recovered at the site of the hit-and-run.
Anaheim police arrested Soto-Juárez on November 29, 2018 without incident, after which he was booked at the Anaheim Detention Facility for felony hit and run with the statutorily set bail of $100,000.