The NEWARK, NJ — After a 4-year-old girl died and her father and 1-year-old sister were critically injured in a hit-and-run accident on January 31st, authorities in Essex County have increased the price for information leading to the arrest of the motorist responsible for the incident to $15,000.
Meanwhile, Fanta Sangaré’s relatives have set up a GoFundMe page to collect money for her “heartbroken family,” as Fanta’s father, Ousmane Sangaré, is recovering from an illness that has rendered him temporarily unable to work.
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The chase for the driver of the stolen Dodge Durango pickup truck that ran down the Sangarés as they walked home for dinner has been stepped up by Newark police, Essex County prosecutor’s investigators, and sheriff’s officials.
Little Fanta was pronounced dead at the hospital. Authorities say that Ramata’s father, Ousmane, and sister, Ramata, were admitted to University Hospital for treatment. Both have returned home to rest and get better.
The Essex County Crime Stoppers organization posted a $10,000 reward within 48 hours of the hit-and-run for information leading to the identification of the pickup truck driver.
On Friday, county Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura announced a reward increase to $15,000.
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Services for Fanta “Mami” Sangaré were held last week and were attended by friends, neighbors, police officers, and local leaders such as West Ward Councilman Dupré Kelly. Councilman Kelly shared information on the family’s GoFundMe campaign.
Nearly $8,400 has been pledged so far.
According to the children’s uncle, Moah Muhamed, the Sangaré family emigrated to the United States from the Republic of Mali in West Africa four years ago “in pursuit of a better life.”
Fantasy was a really content young lady. You can’t look at her and not fall in love with her. Her aunt Fatima assured everyone, “You’re going to love her just by looking at her.” Other members of the family have remarked on the child’s “playfulness and passion for dance.”
Her aunt remarked that the motorist “will have to answer to God.”
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Like other 4-year-old girls, “(Fanta) was happy and kind and loved birthday parties, dancing, and the color pink,” GoFundMe founder Rokia Sangaré wrote.
Rokia explained that the money raised will be used to cover funeral and medical expenses, in addition to “rent, food, transportation, and many other things” that would “assist us greatly while we do our hardest to heal.”