Family mourns 6-year-old boy killed in hit and run on Percival Road

Updated: Nov. 9, 2020 at 6:56 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Police, as well as family and friends of 6-year-old Kayden Valdez, are asking for help to find out who killed the little boy.

The Columbia Police Department says Kayden was hit by a vehicle around 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the 400 block of Percival Road. That’s near the intersection of Forest Drive and Interstate 77.

The driver left the child to die, officials said.

Family and friends describe Kayden as a happy and fun-loving little boy.

“He loved to be big brother, he loved his toys, he loved to play, and he always at the most random times would say, Mommy, I love you,” Kayden’s aunt, Ciara Valdez, said.

Kayden and his mom were attending a family birthday party at the building formerly known as Main Event Sports Bar.

“We have information from a witness who says he was driving along that roadway and saw the child walking on the side of the road,” Columbia Police spokeswoman, Jennifer Timmons, explained. “When he passed him, he realized the seriousness of it, obviously before the collision occurred. It was obviously strange that a child would be left alone at that time of night, or any time of the day. As he was trying to make his way back to the child, that’s when the collision occurred.”

Police say the witness called 911, and Kayden was transported to Prisma Health Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

But Kayden’s family and friends say he was only out of his mom’s sight for a few seconds.

“As they were walking out the door, Kayden got away from his mother,” said Haley Loranger, a friend of Kayden’s mom. “Kayden is autistic. He loves to run and play, and he ran into the street, and that’s when he got hit. His mother was away from him for literally two seconds, and it all happened so fast.”

Both Kayden’s loved ones and police want to know who hit this little boy and drove off.

“If you did do it, please come forward give us that closure,” Valdez said. “You already took something so important to us, something that we will never get back... but if you can just come forward, turn yourself in.”

The Main Event Sports Bar, where the birthday party was held, is in Richland County, but where Kayden was killed -- just a few yards away -- is in the Columbia Police Department’s jurisdiction.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is working to find out why Kayden was walking along the road, and Columbia Police are working to find the driver who hit him.

Police believe the vehicle that hit Kayden was a dark sedan, but because it happened in a rural area, and because Kayden was hit so early in the morning, officials say this investigation isn’t easy.

Anyone with surveillance video or any information that could help police solve this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).

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