Pedro Vargas Garcia on the run after investigators tie him to Journee McDaniel's hit-and-run death

Police accuse Garcia of running off from the southeast Houston crash that killed the 7-year-old on Dec. 13, 2021.

Monday, August 15, 2022
Photo released of man on the run in crash that killed 7-year-old girl
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Houston police released Pedro Vargas Garcia's photo as investigators search for him in a Dec. 13, 2021 hit-and-run crash.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police are putting a face to a name after Eyewitness News reported on a family's agonizing wait to bring the man accused in their 7-year-old daughter's death to justice.

Journee McDaniel's parents spoke only to ABC13 on Aug. 5 about eight months after the little girl died in a hit-and-run crash at Cullen Boulevard and Schurmier Road on Dec. 13, 2021.

ORIGINAL STORY: South Beltway-area hit-and-run crash leads to girl's death and injuries to driver and boy, HPD says

Police said a pickup truck hit the car Journee was riding in.

The suspect driver, identified as Pedro Vargas Garcia, ran away from the scene, police said. An hour later, they say he called police to report his truck stolen.

Police are looking for Pedro Vargas Garcia in connection with a Dec. 13, 2021 hit-and-run that killed a 7-year-old girl.
(Courtesy: Houston Police Department)

According to court records, during the interview for his stolen truck, he submitted a DNA swab, and in May, that DNA came back as a match to DNA found on his steering wheel airbag that deployed in the crash.

But it took another two months for charges and an arrest warrant to be filed in July, and just days after that Garcia hired an attorney.

"It's been eight months and he gets to run around free. He lied and said somebody stole his vehicle. Y'all find out he's lying and it's like, 'OK,'" Tiara McDaniel, Journee's mother, told ABC13's Shelley Childers.

Since the report 10 days ago, police widened their search for Garcia by releasing a photo of him on Monday, but the police department did not provide his description.

Police urge anyone with information on Garcia's whereabouts to call HPD Hit-and-Run Unit at 713-247-4072 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

For more on this story, follow Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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