A South Florida family reeling from the tragic loss of a former Cuban political prisoner is seeking answers amid authorities' efforts to find the driver responsible for fatally striking him while crossing the street.
Seventy-nine-year-old Onofre Perez, a Cuban revolutionary who was held prisoner for nearly three decades, died late Saturday afternoon from injuries he sustained May 27 when, his family said, he was hit at the intersection of Southwest 67th Avenue and West Flagler Street by a driver who did not stop, sending him to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
According to the Miami Herald, the family said the driver reportedly backed the car over Perez after hitting him and took off.
His family said Perez was well-known and loved in the Cuban community. Speaking in Spanish, they said they never imagined his life would end the way it did after all the adversities he'd managed to overcome.
Perez's widow, Catalina Chamorro, said he had just left a doctor's appointment and was crossing the intersection when he was struck.
"We'd hoped he was going to come back home," Perez's stepdaughter, Marlene Rappaccioly, said in Spanish.
Chamorro told 7News she was at her husband's bedside during his final moments, 10 days after the incident. The home where Perez lived with his family for more than a decade was quiet Sunday as Chamorro and Rappaccioly sat in silence. They said it's where Perez liked to garden, plant trees, cook for his wife and tell his stories of struggle and survival.
His family said they hope someone will come forward and bring them a sense of closure. Miami Police is investigating the incident, and it's unclear whether they have any leads at this time.
If you have any information on this hit-and-run, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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