Little Ethan Maldonado was playing outside his home in Austin, Texas when his life came to an abrupt end.
He was run over by a driver who didn’t care to run him over as they cowardly pulled away, leaving the toddler’s body dead in the road. A few days later, the child killer got an unexpected surprise.
Ethan Hernandez was killed in East Austin when Ethan was legally crossing the street with his family when he was fatally hit by a truck, according to police.
“The traffic light turned red and the walking signal for us to cross. Then my kid ran over, the pickup wouldn’t budge and hit my kid and pulled him under,” explains Carlos Hernandez, Ethan’s father. The infant was taken to Dell Children’s Medical Center and pronounced dead less than an hour after the incident, police said. His body was taken to an affordable burial and cremation service.
Robert Falcon, owned by the Affordable Burial and Cremation Service, has buried many and helped families through the most difficult day of saying goodbye to a loved one. Although he’s seen enough tragedy, the death of this 3-year-old hit him particularly hard, especially when he saw the little boy’s photo that was to be displayed at his service.
Falcon had just spent the last few hours comforting the child’s family and preparing the little boy for the funeral when he was overcome with emotion and felt something needed to be done about it. Knowing that Ethan’s killer was still at large as he sat with the boy’s grieving mother who would never have her toddler back, Falcon addressed the person who took that child’s life with a powerful message the social media.
“We shouldn’t have been there, we shouldn’t have been in a church, there shouldn’t have been a 3-year-old boy lying in a coffin, it didn’t have to have been I was a mother and father lamenting with God and with him negotiated and was in pain,” Falcon said, in part on Facebook, of this boy’s senseless death at the hands of someone else’s actions.
“I spent most of Monday night and Tuesday morning getting this kid ready for his mum and dad to see him in a coffin because of you. I want you to see these images and I want you to know how much it pains me to know that you would run over a child and not stop to provide assistance,” Falcon wrote.
Ethan’s family gave Falcon permission to post pictures of their son’s coffin with the public message to his killer. “I want that person to see the reality of what they created, it wasn’t a pretty situation and it wasn’t intended to be pretty at all,” Falcon said.
Falcon says he decided to offer a $2,500 reward after a week passed and no one was arrested.
“This is about a family that lost a son and it’s about finding the person who did it. You know who you are and you know what you have done and all I am asking is please come forward and give this family closure,” he said.
Falcon’s friend then decided to offer another $2,500. They say they just want justice.
The search for the driver drew a lot of attention, especially after Robert Falcon personally organized the $5,000 reward for information on the truck’s driver.
After asking for the public’s help in locating the driver, police received an anonymous tip that someone in Pflugerville had discovered a white Chevrolet Silverado pickup like the one that hit Ethan. This tip led them to the owner of the truck and eventually to a man named Escalante-Vasquez.
The tipster gave police a license plate number, which returned to a truck that matched the description of the suspect truck.
Detectives contacted the truck’s registered owner, who took police to its location in Block 1100 of Walnut Canyon in Pflugerville. Police confirmed it was the same truck involved in the accident that killed Ethan.
The truck’s owner told police Ramiro Escalante-Vasquez, 41, was driving the truck on the day of the accident. Police arrested the man at his apartment complex, where Escalante-Vasquez confessed to driving the truck that killed the three-year-old and leaving the scene of the accident.
The man was charged with stopping and failing to provide assistance, a second-degree felony. His bail was set at $100,000.
Without the remarkable exploits of Robert Falcon, this crime might never have been solved. He went above and beyond his duties to help a grieving family bring much-needed closure.
https://news.detroitdailynews.com/2023/01/10/a-surprise-awaits-the-man-who-killed-a-toddler-in-a-hit-and-run-a-few-days-later/ A surprise awaits the man who killed a toddler in a hit and run a few days later