Family of 12-year-old girl killed in Aug 27 hit and run pleads for answers, public’s help

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INDIANAPOLIS — A Haitian family who calls Indianapolis home is begging for answers in the death of 12-year-old Saleina Marcelus.

Marcelus was killed by a hit and run driver on August 27 on the far east side. She was crossing Mitthoeffer Road to her bus stop.

IMPD said the driver sped off after hitting the child. Police are now looking for a red 2016-2018 Honda Civic after finding a part from the suspect’s vehicle at the scene.

Saleina and her mother, Natasha Occeus, moved to Indianapolis from Florida in June. They immigrated her from Haiti. Saleina started school at Andrew J. Brown Academy days before the crash.

“They had a loving mother and daughter relationship,” Talulah Preval, Saleina’s Aunt, said, translating for Natasha. “It was unstoppable. It was beautiful. That was how their relationship was. It was more than just mother and daughter. It was best friends.”

Saleina is Natasha’s only child. Saleina’s teacher from Florida, Oguena Jacquet, keeps in touch with the family and describes Saleina as a vibrant child.

“She was fun, very funny,” Jacquet said. “Loves to dance, loves to eat popcorn, and she wanted to be a basketball player.”

Jacquet added Saleina adored her mother.

“Saleina always said, ‘I am going to be the one to do everything for my mom, I’m going to raise my mom,'” Jacquet quoted. “‘I’m going to work hard to give my mom everything that she needs.'”

Closure is impossible in situations like these, but Preval said answers will help.

“She said that all that’s in her head is to find the person, whoever did it, and put them in jail because she can’t think of anything more just to find him or her, whoever the person is,” Preval said.

Saleina’s funeral is Saturday, and her family is working hard to cover the costs.

If you have any information that could lead to an arrest in this case, call the IMPD Homicide Branch at 317-327-3475 or CrimeStoppers at 317-262-TIPS to report information anonymously.

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