CHICAGO — The vehicle involved in the hit-and-run that killed 18-month-old Hermes Cardona-Rios on the Northwest Side Monday has been found, according to police.
The discovery comes hours after the family of Hermes made an emotional plea for the pickup driver responsible to come forward.
While the vehicle was located by police, it is still unclear where the vehicle was found or if the person who drove it was also located.
As the family grieves, finding the person responsible for the death of Hermes remains their purpose.
“I cannot believe it. My grandson is gone. I want justice for him,” said Hermes’ grandmother, Clarita Recto.
Mourners who gathered at a memorial in the 4500 block of N. Pulaski had a message for the driver who fatally struck the toddler.
“Please, if you have any type of conscience or heart, please turn yourself in,” said Hermes’ godfather, Khalid Jordan.
According to police, the toddler was not safely secured in the backseat of a white Toyota Rav 4 when he exited the SUV and walked onto the street. Officials said a pickup truck then struck the toddler and left the scene. First responders rushed Hermes to Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in critical condition, where he was pronounced dead.
The boy’s father, Gerardo Cardona Hernandez, said Hermes was a happy kid.
“After coming out premature, he still fought to stay alive,” Hernandez said.
The family adds that Hermes, who had two older brothers and a baby sister, was baptized last week.
“Just so you know, my son, he would always…when he says ‘thank you,’ he would smile like the biggest smile,” said Hermes’ mother, Jocelyn Rios. “I’m pretty sure everyone will remember him.”
“My grandson, we’re going to miss him. He is so sweet. I cannot believe it. My grandson is gone,” added Recto.