• Police looking for driver of van who hit, killed 6-year-old boy

    By: Alexa Ashwell , Mark Becker , Jenna Deery

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - APRIL 28 UPDATE: Police have warrants charging the driver of the van that hit and killed a 6-year-old boy over the weekend. Click here for details.


    Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are continuing to search for the driver who hit and killed a 6-year-old boy Sunday in east Charlotte, then drove off.

    Police spent several hours Tuesday going over the van they found at a home in Mint Hill, but late Wednesday afternoon sources said they were not close to identifying who was behind the wheel when it hit and killed Anthony Castellon-Rivera.

    On Tuesday, a makeshift memorial to the boy continued to grow on a power pole next to where he died.

    “I didn't know him, but I saw it on TV and it just broke my heart because I have children and grandchildren too,” said Dora Sosa, who came with her sister, Janie Sanchez.

    “This is heartbreaking!  I came and just left him this little bear,” Janie Sanchez said as she pointed to the teddy bear she had left at the memorial.

    The women called for the driver to turn himself in.

    “Maybe he got scared, my sister said maybe he got scared when this happened, but he should really show his face,” Sanchez said.

    “All I can say is that I really wish he would turn himself in--that's the best thing he could do,” Sosa added.

    Santos Rivera hugged the picture of his 6-year-old son and sobbed Monday. The little boy who smiled back at him wasn’t coming home.

    Anthony had gone to the store Sunday afternoon with his mother and sister. They had crossed Eastway Drive and were on the way home, when his sister, Erica, said Anthony started to run.

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    “Anthony, my brother, was holding my mom's hand and he let go of my mom's hand, and he started chasing me, he started following me, and that's when a white van struck him,” Erica Castellano-Rivera said.

    She said the driver of the van stopped and first and got out. He looked dizzy, she said, as he surveyed what had happened.

    “He looked at my brother before he saw everyone else looking at him and so he got back in the van and drove away fast,” Erica said.

    Witnesses describe the driver as Hispanic, in his 30s with curly hair, and Anthony’s family said they can’t understand how he could have driven away.

    “I mean, how could he sleep last night, you know?” asked Rosali Rivera, Anthony’s uncle.

    Rivera had driven in from Greensboro after Anthony’s mother called to tell him what had happened.

    “She called me crying, saying, 'Somebody killed my son,'” Rivera said.

    Family members said Anthony’s mother was taken to the hospital Monday after suffering a breakdown of some kind.

    Neighbors were heartbroken. They told Channel 9 the family has lived in the neighborhood for several years and they would often see the little boy outside playing. 

    “I have a son the same age,” Ana Ricoy said, her eyes filled with tears. “He (her son) almost got hit last year.  It’s hard because you never know.”

    On Wednesday morning, people were still coming by and adding to the memorial where Anthony died.

    Police are asking anyone who has any information to call their Crimestoppers line, 704-334-1600.

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