The Merced mother of a 3-year-old who died after being struck by a car in Merced held a picture of her daughter on Tuesday, kissing it gently before setting it back down at the candlelight vigil.
Shawan Bradford, 37, and her other three children were surrounded by more than 50 family members and friends on Tuesday night to remember Dayveonna Polk, a toddler struck by a purple "late '90s" Honda Accord about 3:40 p.m. Monday at R and 18th streets, the Merced Police Department reported.
Surveillance video showed the car stopping at a red light on R and 18th streets. After the light turned green, the driver turned left on R Street, hit the girl and fled.
Dozens lit candles that surrounded Dayveonna's picture at that same intersection on Tuesday, while others wrote the toddler messages on a sign that read "Justice 4 Davii."
"Rest in paradise lil' mama," a message said. "You're gone but never forgotten."
As of Tuesday, the driver of the Honda has not be found, according to police.
Bradford was walking home with her four children on Monday afternoon when Dayveonna was hit, she told the Sun-Star in an interview. She pointed at the spot in the street where her daughter landed and said, "I saw everything."
The toddler was laying on her back in the street and she could see blood coming out of her ear, Bradford said. After Dayveonna was airlifted to Valley Children's Hospital, she "fought for a longtime" before she died at about 4:35 a.m. on Tuesday, her mother said.
"I'm really hurt," Bradford said. "I'm not going to see my baby anymore. She didn't deserve that."
Dayveonna just turned 3 last month, Bradford said, and had a Tinkerbell-themed party because it was her favorite character and "because she was a princess."
"She was my girly girl," Bradford added, and was always smiling, dancing and laughing.
One of Dayveonna cousins, Kamesha Miles, said she was very "friendly," "lovable" and "would go up to everyone." She also liked to play with dolls, she said.
Police are asking anyone with more information on this incident to call 209-388-7752 or the Merced Police Department Tipster Line at 209-385-4725. Anonymous text messages can be sent to the police department by dialing "TIP411" (847411) and including the word "ComVIP" as the keyword in the message.
Monica Velez: 209-385-2486, @monicavelez21