GARDENA (CBSLA.com) — The family of a man allegedly struck and killed by the daughter of a veteran Los Angeles police sergeant are struggling with news that the suspect is free, and not due in court until October.
Vanessa Marie Yanez had been booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, perjury, filing a false report, and felony hit and run in the death of 60-year-old Jesse Dotson at Vermont Avenue and El Segundo on June 26, according to Gardena police Lieutenant Steve Prendergast.
Dotson, a post office employee, was riding his bicycle to work when he was struck.
Vanessa filed a stolen car report with the Huntington Park police at about 1:50 a.m. the following morning.
“She reported it stolen and said it was found parked down the street and had suffered some kind of traffic collision damage,” Prendergast said.
The following day, when media reports about the incident began to appear, the officer who took the report felt that the details of the report and description of the vehicle seemed to match, and called Gardena police.
The 22-year-old daughter of veteran LAPD sergeant Arturo Yanez was released on her own recognizance after turning herself in to police earlier this week.
Yanez was accompanied by her attorney and made no statements to detectives. Police reportedly believe it will take until October to investigate and build their case so that the District Attorney can file charges.
“We don’t deserve this,” said the victim’s cousin, Nathaniel Blackmon. “He didn’t deserve that.”
At the Gardena home where the suspect reportedly lives with her father, and where police found the alleged hit-and-run vehicle, blinds were down and a car blocked access to the front gate Friday.
Throughout the day, the 22-year-old Yanez deleted photos and tweets on her Twitter page.
On her LinkedIn profile, Yanez writes that she has a BA in Psychology from Marymount College, where she was the Vice President of Student Organizations and an LGBT advocate.
The victim’s family said they are left wondering how someone so educated could allegedly leave another human being to die.
“Squirrels ran over in the street,” said the victim’s wife, Lorna Ashley-Dotson. “That’s how they left my husband: ran over in the street.”
Dotson’s family, who are now planning his funeral, said the victim was an Army veteran and former special education teacher, who later went on to work for the post office.
“He was our Jesse,” said his cousin, Nathaniel Blackmon. “You took a major part of our family away from us.”
LAPD confirmed Friday that it is now investigating what Sgt. Yanez knew about the incident and when.
Dotson’s funeral is scheduled for July 13th.