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MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – The Florida Highway Patrol scoured a strip mall on Wednesday looking for evidence in the Sunday night hit-and-run death of a 52-year-old bicyclist.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench followed FHP Trooper Indiana Villalonga as she went door to door to stores asking business owners if they had any surveillance tape that might have captured the vehicle that took the life of 52-year-old Jacques Jean-Baptiste.
FHP Trooper Joe Sanchez said a witness told investigators that the vehicle that struck Jean-Baptiste at 8:16 p.m. on Sunday came back to the scene, made a U-turn and then went through the strip mall before leaving the scene.
The strip mall runs from N.W. 160th to N.W. 161st streets on N.W. 27th Ave.
“It’s always a puzzle to put these investigations together,” said Sanchez. “And any bit of evidence helps us in closing this case.”
“We can’t figure out why people continue to leave the scene. The numbers are just so high in hit and runs, especially when people lose their lives.
“People have to have a conscience and people have to understand that the best thing for you to do is to stay at the scene because in many cases it may not even be you fault. By leaving the scene you are aggravating these charges.”
Jean-Baptiste’s relatives have been very outspoken about this crime and hope they can prompt tips from the public.
His sister, Edeline Louis-Jean, told D’Oench, “I feel very, very bad. I feel very, very bad. I cannot believe a person can act like that. I don’t know if it was a he or a she. But all I can say is get out of your car. Help that person. See what you can do. Call 911.”
She added, “You cannot just hit somebody and drag him and come back again and then flee the scene. What is this person? This is not a human being. Come forward if you have seen the car or the tag. If you did it, go to the police station and turn yourself in.
“What happened is the same person who hit Jacques can hit you or me. It doesn’t matter if you are white or yellow or black, the same person that hit him can hit you or me.
“My brother Jacques was a very, very nice person.”
Family members say Jean-Baptiste had gone to a Walgreens store at the corner of N.W. 27th Ave. and N.W. 160th St. to purchase some snacks.
“I am just hoping that somebody will come forward and say this is what happened,” said Nakisha Louis-Jeune, the niece of Jean-Baptiste.
His brother, Daniel Jean-Baptiste, said, “My brother was a great individual. He was a human being, a prime human being. Everyone likes my brother. He would do anything to help other people.
“What happened here was a tragedy for the family. No one expected that to happen.
“I’m wishing that if anyone has any information about the accident and the crime that occurred on Sunday, please come forward and let somebody know because it can happen to you. It can happen to anybody and we need to find that individual who committed such a heinous crime and left the scene of the accident.
“I can’t believe that in 2015, especially for someone to hit a human being and circle around and then come back and see what they did and just leave, it’s unbelievable.”
FHP continues to look for surveillance tape of the vehicle involved in the hit and run accident and does not have a description to release of that vehicle.
Anyone who can help FHP should call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).