Police search for hit-and-run driver involved in Orlando 8-year-old's death

Jephte Babakissa was killed riding home from school

By Vanessa Araiza - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando police continue their investigation into what caused a driver to hit and kill an 8-year-old boy Wednesday afternoon.

Jephte Babakissa was fatally injured while riding his bike home from Conway Elementary School Wednesday.

He was feet from his home when he was hit.

The crash happened along South Conway Road and East Michigan Street.

The school's principal sent an automated recording to parents alerting them to what happened.

Grief counselors are at the school to help students and staff members.

Police have yet to release the details of the crash or what caused the driver to hit the child.

The driver stayed at the scene but it's unknown if he will face charges.

A small memorial with candles, balloons and stuffed animals sit where the child was killed.

Jephte's mother and family visited the site along South Conway Road Friday afternoon.

She said her son loved riding his bike.

The family moved to Florida as refugees from Congo in Africa about four years ago.

Melissa Pugh and her husband heard the commotion outside their apartment Wednesday.

They'd seen the child many times before riding his bike along the sidewalk like so many others.

"These kids pass by every morning. Every afternoon," Pugh said.

Jephte's brother, who was with him when he was hit, said the driver was texting.

Police have not confirmed if that was the cause of the crash but said the investigation continues.

"My heart just goes out to the family. I couldn't even sleep that night. I really haven't slept too much at all since it happened because you know I'm a mother also. My heart just goes out," Pugh said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family. For more information on how to help, visit https://www.gofundme.com/jephte-babakissa.

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