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Hit-and-run victim's family pleas for driver to come forward

A woman who went to grab a cold drink late Tuesday never returned, and her family is asking for help identifying the driver who hit her.

Kaeloni Tauvao, 27, was struck by a car about 10:55 p.m. in the 7300 block of W Melrose Lane, just west of Rockwell Avenue, police said.

Tauvao died at a nearby hospital. Nearly a week later the driver who struck her still has not come forward.

Her aunt, Linda Deason, said Tauvao was walking to the 7-Eleven at Rockwell Avenue and Melrose Lane when she was struck from behind.

"It had just rained really bad that day, that afternoon, and so she was walking around a mud puddle is what we assume," Deason said. "She had just stepped into the street."

"Why, if you know you hit somebody, why would you drive off? Why wouldn't you stop to help? ... That's what's been really hard on us. Just not even having a heart to slow down and stop," Deason said.

Tauvao was a nurse's assistant and the mother of two small children, Deason said. She described Tauvao as caring, nurturing and full of life and laughter.

Police are looking for a red 2011 to 2013 Ford Fiesta with front passenger side damage.

"We want somebody to help us solve this crime — be able to find out who hit our niece," Deason said. "We're a very forgiving family, and we understand accidents happen, but please come forward."

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 235-7300.

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