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Days after the discovery of the body of the teenage jogger who was killed in a hit-and-run off of a Miami causeway, a man who’d been interviewed by detectives was arrested and charged in her killing, police said last week.
Jose Fimia, 60, was arrested on Friday evening by Miami Traffic Homicide Detectives and charged with one count of vehicular homicide in the death of 16-year-old Dayana Gomez Sanchez. Fimia was also charged with leaving the scene of a crash/death, driving with a suspended license and tampering with physical evidence, according to inmate records.
The teenager’s body was discovered on the evening of May 16 by her uncle in a patch of bushes off the 79th St Causeway near Miami’s Pelican Harbor Marina. She was last seen alive by her family around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday when she went for her regular early morning run.
Investigators initially believed Dayana may have been murdered, but soon suspected the teen was the victim of a hit-and-run that was called in on Sunday morning around 8:45 a.m.
On Tuesday, investigators located a grey Toyota Corolla with damage that matched up with the injuries sustained by the teenager, the Miami Herald reported. Fimia was questioned last week, but as there was no video footage found from the scene and detectives were awaiting the results of DNA evidence testing from the Toyota, they were unable to charge him in her death.
The arrest report says that a witness claimed to have seen Fimia’s undamaged vehicle on May 14, then again on May 16 parked near a dumpster, the Herald reported; it had what appeared to be blood and hair on the windshield, which was broken. The witness told police that when they asked him if he needed help, Fimia said he’d hit something. Later, a man who arrived with Fimia’s sister helped him change a damaged front tire, the witness told detectives, according to the report.
On Thursday, police found a surveillance video of Fimia driving his Toyota in the Pelican Harbor Marina area. He's now being held without bond at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. It’s unclear if he has an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Dayana was a Miami native who had ambitions of going into banking or real estate, the Herald reported. Her father, who was detained in 2017 and deported to his native Honduras, was hoping to secure a humanitarian visa to attend his daughter’s funeral.
“They took away the only niece I had in this country,” Denis Omar Gomez, who found his niece’s body, told WFOR. “They took away the most beautiful thing I had in my life.”
Dayana’s aunt, Concepcion Alvarado, told the Herald that she wishes that the driver who killed her niece had stopped to help.
“Maybe she could have been saved,” she said.
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