February 11, 2012
It has been six years since 24-year-old Kimberly Encinia was struck and killed by a hit and run driver on February 11, 2012.
Kimberly's case remains unsolved, and there are still no answers as to who took her life; but her mother is not giving up hope and neither are police.
Kimberly was discovered along McArdle Road. She was walking from home to a nearby church when, at the time, the area did not have the safety of sidewalks.
Kimberly's mother, Mary Encinia, described her daughter as, "a very loving, giving, humble, vibrant young lady." She said Kimberly was looking forward to a girl sleepover at the NET, a nearby fellowship on McArdle that was not far down the road from her home.
"They were going to celebrate Valentine's Day. She came to my home, and she changed. Five or ten minutes later, I saw the lights here where the accident happened," Mary said.
Kimberly never made it to the church. Just yards away from reaching her destination, she was found critically injured and lying in a ditch on the side of the narrow road. At the age of 24, Kimberly Encinia's life had been taken by a hit-and-run driver.
3News spoke with Sr. Officer Jesus Solis, a traffic safety investigator with Corpus Christi Police Department. Solis was among the officers on the scene that night.
"All indications are it was just an accident," Solis said. "Unfortunately, the person who was involved in it -- which we believe they know they were involved in it -- he or she decided for whatever reason not to stop."
It was because of that decision not to stop that the driver became the sole focus of a police investigation. Leaving the scene of a fatal accident can result in a felony charge.
"The witnesses saw what appeared to be a white SUV. We didn't have a license plate. While I'm there at the scene, we had officers canvas the area for a vehicle," Solis said.
Officers searched the area, but the vehicle was long gone. The only information police had to work with was that the vehicle was possibly a white or gray Nissan Xterra.
For the last six years, there have been no credible leads and no new suspects.
"If it's the driver, it's time. This family has been grieving for six years. It's time to make it right and come forward and say 'sorry'," Solis said.
Kimberly would have been 30 years old.
3News met with her mother Mary at the site of the accident back then -- a stretch of McArdle Road between Roddfield and Ennis Joslin that was a two-lane roadway with no shoulders and no sidewalks. Since the accident, Mary fought to make sure others would remain safe and sparked change to get the City of Corpus Christi to add walkways to both sides of the road.
"It seems like it just happened last night. It's something you don't understand, but you don't know how to cope with it. It makes you stronger," Mary said.
Mary hopes one day her daughter's case will be solved and her message to the driver responsible comes from the same loving heart shared by her daughter.
"I love you, and I forgive you, and hopefully you can find it in your heart to turn yourself in," Mary said.
If you have any information that can help solve this crime and help bring Kimberly's family some closure, call CCPD detectives at 361-886-2600.