Family of deadly hit-and-run victim ask public for answers, plan vigil in Independence

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Police in one metro city need answers from the public.

During the weekend, Independence police said a woman was killed in a hit-and-run crash, and detectives want to know who's to blame.

It's a deep pain they can't describe or accept. Family members of 30-year-old Misty Marie Collins are pleading for the public's input.

Collins, a mother of two, was killed while walking along a stretch of U.S. Highway 24 near Kiger Road on Sunday. A social media post from Independence Police said it was around 5:30 a.m. Sunday when Collins was hit by a driver who didn't stop.

A small memorial with flowers sits just beside the spot where police found her body.

"I was there for both of her children's births," said Donna Swartz, Collins' mother.

Swartz and other family members met at the crash site Monday morning to commiserate and support one another. Swartz and Jesse Stuck, Collins' sister-in-law, said Collins and her immediate family members were staying at a nearby motel.

Collins, whose two children are below age five, was due to begin work at a new job on Monday, according to her relatives.

"It should never have happened. That's why we want justice to find out what exactly happened," Swartz told FOX4. "All we know is that she was hit and killed here at about 5:30 in the morning."

On Monday afternoon, police continued to search the neighborhood.

Several officers from the department's traffic division could be seen canvassing merchants in the neighborhood for information.

"We don't know what events happened to where she was walking along the side of the road," Stuck said. "Losing someone in a split second is very hard. We're just leaning on each other as a family and coming together to try to figure this out."

Stuck said the family is aware that Collins left her motel residence in a car a few hours before she died.

But, as of Monday, the family doesn't know where she was going in the wee hours of the morning or why she was walking on the dark on the side of a busy highway.

"Even if you thought it was just a dog you hit, come forward and just admit that you made a mistake. Somebody knows what happened her," Stuck said.

Collins leaves behind a husband and two young sons. The family is planning a Tuesday night vigil at 8:30 p.m. at the site of the crash where they'll mourn their daughter's loss, and ask the public's help in finding out who did this.

You can learn more about this hit-and-run accident and that public vigil at this Facebook link.

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