HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A break in a deadly hit-and-run case in Hillsborough County has the victim’s family grateful people stepped forward.
After an impassioned speech by the sister of 19-year-old Mostafa Abdalla on Wednesday pleading for the public’s help, CrimeStoppers received dozens of tips.
One of them panned out and it led investigators to find the green Dodge truck with a missing rear-view mirror they believed hit Mostafa on Orient Road late Sunday night as he walked home from a local mosque where he’d been praying with friends.
Detectives also interviewed the owner of the truck but told us it’s too soon to say if the owner was the person behind the wheel at the time Mostafah was hit.
“I’m fighting for this because I want justice and peace for him,” Mariam Abdalla told News Channel 8 from the family home as she clutched a picture of her and her brother tightly in her hands.
She and her brother, Karem Emam, their parents and friends, are all searching for some sense of closure and pray the driver is caught and charged.
“There’s really nothing I can do to bring him back,” Mariam told us. “I’m broken. I’m hurt and I’m staying strong.”
On Wednesday, Mariam made that powerful plea to the public. In part she said, “Nobody called at all to get him some help? Like, how heartless can you be?”
“He could have saved him. why you just hit somebody and run away?” Ehab Ghoneim, a friend of Mostafa’s wondered aloud on Friday near the accident scene. “Be a man about it and come forward.”
“What do you want?” asked Mostafa’s brother Karem Emam in a question aimed at the driver. “May God have mercy on you,” he said.
Long-time friend Amen Tallam is grateful they found the truck, but it doesn’t heal the pain.
“That really lifts my spirits but it can never bring back a life,” he told News Channel 8.
“His smile is always going to be here,” Mariam said as she continued to hold her brother’s picture tightly. “His laugh, Him being goofy all the time. It’s always going to be here.”
The driver will most likely face felony manslaughter charges.
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