An example of a Nissan Armada, not the SUV from the story. via Wikimedia Commons
An example of a Nissan Armada, not the SUV from the story. via Wikimedia Commons

Was a hit-and-run killer of a 16-year-old prostitute a pimp or disgrunteld customer who targeted his victim on purpose?

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and law enforcement officials want to find an answer to that question.

So the Supervisors renewed a $10,000 reward Tuesday in hopes of identifying a hit-and-run driver who ran down and killed a teenage girl and injured two women, who appear to have been working as prostitutes in Santa Ana.

Supervisor Don Knabe recommended extending the reward, set to expire Oct. 9.

Though the July 10 incident happened in Orange County, 16-year-old Lameia Harris was a ward of Los Angeles County who had been placed in a group home from which she had gone missing, according to Santa Ana police.

The three victims were standing in a center median as motorists slowed and stopped to talk to them prior to the hit-and-run. Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna noted the area was a hotbed of prostitution.

Investigators are now considering whether the motorist, who witnesses say was a Latino man, deliberately tried to run over the victims, who appear to have been working as prostitutes, Bertagna said.

“Was his an intentional act (by) someone like a pimp or an upset customer?” Bertagna said in July. “Or was it someone who, because traffic was stopped, became impatient and decided to drive in that lane and hit all three?”

The motorist was driving a dark gray Nissan Armada. Surveillance video showed the SUV’s left front headlight dangling following the crash on Hazard Avenue just west of Harbor Boulevard, Bertagna said.

 

“Everyone in the Los Angeles County family who knew Lameia mourns her loss,” Knabe said. “It is heartbreaking that someone so young who was trying so hard to overcome the many challenges she was bravely facing could have her life taken from her in such a violent way.”

The county’s human trafficking task force is helping with the investigation, Bertagna said.

The reward will now be available for at least another 90 days.

Knabe asked anyone with more information to call Bertagna at (714) 709- 2043.

–City News Service 

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