Girl's parents beg for closure after hit-and-run driver killed daughter

- UPDATE: Philadelphia police say an arrest has been made in the fatal hit-and-run that killed 8-year-old Jayanna Powell. According to police, a 24-year-old man is in custody and charges are pending. 

The parents of the 8-year-old girl who was struck and killed while walking home from school less than two weeks ago pleaded to Good Day Philadelphia viewers to help catch the person who took their daughter’s life.

Police say Jayanna Powell was crossing the intersection of 63rd Street and Lansdowne Avenue in Overbrook at about 3:15pm on Friday, Nov. 18, when a silver Nissan Altima or Maxima hit her.

Jayanna’s 12-year-old brother, Hassan Cox, was holding her hand as they crossed. He was slightly injured. She was taken to the hospital and her parents described how she died shortly after.

Her mother, Ayeshia Poole, said Jayanna wanted to be a lawyer. She was on the honor roll from kindergarten until second grade. She said her other children are trying to cope.

Her father, James Powell, described trying hard to balance the grief, saying “It’s a struggle but I’m trying to keep myself together” for his family.

Jayanna's parents thanked their extended family -- her West Philadelphia friends and neighbors – for marching and rallying, and praying for justice.

They said the intersection was busy and someone should’ve seen something. They’re also pleading for the driver do the right thing in order for them to have closure.

Philadelphia police released a photo of a vehicle believed to be involved. They believe it was a 2009 to 2012 model silver Nissan Altima or Maxima, and would have a damaged front grill and one headlight. By now, that damage would either be evident or recently repaired.

Tuesday, the mayor's office announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction, the Fraternal Order of Police offered another $15,000 for an arrest, plus the family is putting up an additional $20,000. That’s a total of $45,000.

This Saturday, Dec. 3, the family will be holding a walk. They’ll start meeting at 3:30pm at 63rd and Market streets. Then, at 4, they’ll walk to the site of the tragedy – 63rd and Lansdowne Avenue – and return.

In a few weeks, friends will be organizing a fundraising for the surviving children. That’ll be on Dec. 17. Look for it at 1pm at Tustin Playground. That’s at 60th and Columbia.

The family warns there is no GoFundMe page, so don’t let anybody take advantage of your generosity.

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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