LOS ANGELES (KCAL/KCBS/CNN) - Maria Reynoso’s family is preparing for its first Thanksgiving without her.
Her relatives gathered at the spot where the 77-year-old died on Nov. 13.
“She was a good woman. She was a good mother. She was a great grandmother. She was an excellent great-grandmother,” said Julia Stranges, Reynoso’s granddaughter.
In both Spanish and English, the raw emotion poured out. How could it not?
Reynoso, the matriarch of a family, mother of nine children, grandmother to 16 and great-grandmother to nine, was killed by a hit and run driver a driver who knew that he’d hit her, according to witnesses, and didn’t stop.
“At the point where he saw her laying there, he didn't render aid and he was a coward and he left her to die,” Stranges said.
Twenty-five-year-old Brandon Mazariego is in custody and charged with vehicular manslaughter. Detectives say he was going about 10 mph when he hit Reynoso, who had just stepped off the curb to cross the street at the corner.
Police released a short clip of the security video and stills from that security video which they said showed a suspect fleeing from the scene.
Reynoso lived in the neighborhood for more than 40 years and she also had a daily routine, something that she just didn't skip.
She would go every day to a local Catholic church a few blocks away and attend mass, 7:30 mass just like clockwork.
She wouldn’t miss. And that’s where she was headed when she was killed last week.
“That was what she did every day. She was a woman of faith,” Stranges said.
It was a combination of the video and witnesses that led police to Mazariego so quickly, just two days after the tragic hit-and-run.
Mazariego, a man with a long record, had just dropped off his children at an elementary school and was on his way home when he allegedly hit Reynoso and didn't stop.
“She’s a tremendous, tremendous, tremendous loss,” Stranges stressed. “Our lives, our family will never be the same.”
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