$45k reward for hit and run driver who killed 8-year-old girl, mother speaks out

- Philadelphia police announced a large reward to help catch the driver who kept on going after striking and killing a little eight-year-old girl, Jayanna Powell, as she was walking home from school in Overbrook. Now, they're hoping Jayanna's mother's message to the driver will encourage people speak out.

Ayeshia Poole and James Powell, mom and dad to 8-year-old Jayanna, huddled with the 19th District Captain at Philadelphia Police Headquarters Tuesday, before stepping forward to address the hit-and-run driver who took their daughter's life.

"I had to lay my baby to rest yesterday,” said Poole to a bank of cameras and reporters. “The hardest thing in my life. I don't get a prom. I don't get a graduation. No marriage, no grandkids, nothing. So just turn yourself in.  Make it better on everybody. Please, turn yourself in."

Jayanna Powell was struck and killed by a silver Nissan Altima in the intersection of 63rd and Lansdowne Avenue around 3:15 P.M. on November 18.

Police believe the striking vehicle was a 2009-2012 model, and would have sustained damage to the front grille and one headlight.

That damage would either be now evident or recently repaired.

"What I want to say is, to the driver, your chance is now, to come forward,” said Captain Patrick Kelly of the department’s Accidental Investigation District.  “We promise you a fair investigation of this crash."

To help that probe, the mayor's office is now putting up a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the driver.

The Fraternal Order of Police is offering another $15,000 for an arrest alone.

Plus, the family is offering an additional $20,000.

"If you bring them in today, you're paid today,” said the FOP’s John McNesby.  “It's not for the conviction.  You don't have to wait for a long, detailed process.  You bring them in today, you're paid today, and let's give this family of little Jayanna a little bit of closure."

Jayanna's parents, extended family-- her West Philadelphia friends and neighbors-- have marched and rallied and prayed for justice in this case.

Now they are pleading for the driver of that Altima do the right thing.

"If you have a heart, if you have a mind or a soul, just turn yourself in," said Poole. "It could have been your child, your grandchild, your niece.  Just turn yourself in.  You wouldn't want it to happen to your family.  Why do it to another family?" 

The second grader was crossing the intersection on her walk home from school. Her brother, Hassan Cox, 12, was holding her hand as they crossed. He was also slightly injured. She was taken to the hospital and died shortly after.

Last week, Philadelphia police released a photo of a vehicle believed to be involved. It’s believed to be a silver 2009-2016 Nissan Maxima or Altima. The car should have damage to one of the front headlights, as well as damage to the front grill area.

"She was the happiest little girl ever. She has manners. She was always happy always laughing," her family told FOX 29.  "You took our princess from us she's gone now."

Anyone with information on the driver or car is asked to call the Accident Investigation District at 215-685-3180 or 3181, or call 911.

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