Tampa, Florida — Only on 10, the family of 12-year-old Natalia Leonard who was killed in a hit and run crash late Friday night is speaking out. They want justice for their baby girl.
"Natalia will rest in peace. She was a great girl, and she had a good soul," said Leonard's 9-year-old neighbor neighbor and friend Jodiyan Medero.
He read from a letter he wrote to her, after he found out she died.
A heart was drawn on the page.
"I wrote her name in the middle," he said. "I wish I could see her one more time."
Natalia's family tells us she made straight A's at school.
"She's gonna be very missed. I love her very much. And I just don't think I have any tears left," said Leonard's aunt Shirley Sanders.
Friday night when Leonard was riding her bike on 15th Street not far from her father's home:
"She turned around and the car just hit her, then kept on going," said Leonard's cousin China Carrol.
Leonard's family is barely holding on.
"I just hope I don't lose it," said Natalia's father, Frankie Leonard.
Tampa Police arrested Geraldo Rivera late Friday night. He's currently in the Hillsborough County jail charged with leaving the scene of an accident with death involved and is being held on $15,000 bond.
In a release, Tampa police said Rivera ran into Leonard while she was riding her bike north on 15th Street and East Osborne Avenue. They said Rivera stopped at the light, turned right, and ran into the girl, dragging her 200ft. before fleeing the scene and heading back to his home.
It's the second hit-and-run killing a child in less than two weeks in Tampa.
Leonard's aunt Shirley Sanders said her niece was living with her father for the summer and enjoyed the freedom of his household.
For neighbors like Eric Perry, Leonard's death has hit home.
"That's the first thing I thought of was my little girls," he said.
If you would like to help the family with funeral costs, you can call Frankie Leonard at 813-455-7181, or email Shirley Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also donate at the page created by her 5th grade teacher by clicking here.
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