The anguished family of a 16-year-old boy who was hit by a vehicle and left to die on an Oxford County road Saturday night is offering a reward for information leading to the driver’s arrest.
Xavier Fuentes of Turner was walking on Buckfield Road – also known as Route 117 – in Paris when he was struck by a vehicle with a plow attached to it, Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Lange of the Paris Police Department said Sunday night. A passer-by noticed the body and notified police about 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Fuentes was taken to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway, where he died.
“We are devastated that a person could do this,” said Sheila Cole, Fuentes’ mother. “I’d like to be able to look the person in the face and ask them, ‘Why didn’t you stop?’ They must have heard something.”
Lange did not provide any additional details about Saturday night’s events, asking only that anyone with information about the vehicle or the incident contact Paris police. He encouraged the driver to surrender to police. Lange would not say how police know Fuentes was struck by a plow.
Lange speculated that the vehicle had to be large enough and high enough off the ground to carry a plow, but he was unable to provide any specifics on the make or color of the vehicle.
Fuentes’ mother said the family is struggling to understand why the driver didn’t stop to help her son.
“For our family, we would hope and ask that this person would please come forward and take responsibility for what they did,” said Cole. “My issue (with this driver) is you hit someone and you didn’t stop. You left my son there to die. What kind of a person would do that?”
Cole, who lives in Greenwood, said her son had gone to see the newly released movie “300: Rise of an Empire” at the Flagship Cinemas on Main Street in Oxford on Saturday night.
His grandmother Janice Moore drove Fuentes and his cousin Keagen Passalaqua, 19, to Oxford. Fuentes’ older sister Audra Milos, 21, works at the theater.
Moore went shopping at a nearby store while the teenagers watched the movie, Passalaqua said Sunday night.
Passalaqua said Fuentes went inside the theater with him but seemed to be agitated about something. At some point during the movie, Fuentes left the seating area.
“I thought he left to blow off some steam,” Passalaqua said.
He said he became concerned when Fuentes did not return to watch the movie. After searching the theater without success, Milos notified authorities that her brother was missing.
Moore returned to the theater and told Passalaqua and Milos that Fuentes had been hit while walking and had been transported to the local hospital.
Cole said she was told by police that her son walked more than four miles, from the theater to the spot on Route 117 where he was struck.
Moore could not be contacted Sunday night, but she posted a message on her Facebook page and offered a $1,000 reward for information concerning her grandson’s death. A friend of the family offered to contribute an additional $500, raising the reward to $1,500.
“My heart is breaking so bad,” Moore wrote on her Facebook page. “I just can’t believe that this is real. My grandson, Xavier, dear sweet Xavier is gone way too soon. I love you so much. I will miss you so much. He was killed by a hit and run on 117 Paris. Please pass the word. Anyone knowing of someone with damage to their car in the area please come forward.”
“Xavier was a really nice person,” Passalaqua said. “He was always there to listen or to tell a joke. I used to call him sunshine.”
Passalaqua is hopeful the driver will surrender to police. He said his family is “desperate for answers.”
“I’ve accepted the fact that he is gone but I want to know what happened. I want to have some closure,” he said.
Cole said Fuentes was scheduled to begin classes at Leavitt Area High School in Turner on Monday. He had spent most of his sophomore year at Telstar Regional High School in Bethel.
Fuentes spent his freshman year at Leavitt before transferring to Telstar. Cole did not want to elaborate on his reasons for transferring.
“Xavier and his grandmother had come in just last week to re-enroll,” said Leavitt Area High School Principal Eben Shaw. “While he was with us, Xavier really connected with the students. He had a good peer group and made a lot of friends at Leavitt.”
Shaw said he was led to believe that Fuentes was going to live with Moore, his grandmother, in Turner.
Cole described her son as “friendly, bright and intelligent.”
He had three siblings – a sister, Talisha Lara, 22, of Lewiston; a brother, Cameron Fuentes, 19, of Turner; and Milos, who lives in Mechanic Falls.
Fuentes’ father lives out of state.
Dan Hart, Telstar’s principal, said a team of crisis counselors will be available Monday to provide support to students or teachers.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Paris police at 743-7448 or send an email to [email protected]
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:
Correction: This story was revised at 1:45 p.m., March 17, 2014, to state that the hit-and-run that killed Xavier Fuentes took place in Paris, not South Paris as previously reported.