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