Police work to link SUV owner to fatal hit and run - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Police work to link SUV owner to fatal hit and run

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Officer Daryl Raetz (Source: Phoenix Police Department) Officer Daryl Raetz (Source: Phoenix Police Department)
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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Police have located the vehicle they believe was involved in the hit-and-run that killed Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz Sunday.

The registered owner of the vehicle is 24-year-old Jesus Cabrera Molina. He was arrested Sunday afternoon for possession of narcotics and has been booked on those charges. However, he has not been booked for charges in connection with the accident.

Expert accident reconstructionist Mike McCullough said investigators are now working frantically behind the scenes trying to find evidence that puts Molina behind the wheel at the time of the crash.

"Everybody would like to have a witness, that very strong witness that sees the crash and can identify the driver. That's probably one of the strongest pieces of evidence you can have," McCullough said.

Short of that, detectives will also be collecting forensic and physical evidence, interviewing people who know Molina and saw him before and after the accident occurred and examining video taken by surveillance cameras.

"Lets' face it, big brother is everywhere. The cameras are out on all the corners, they're on the businesses, they're on the parking lots facing out on the streets and they're running 24 hour loops. All you have to do is get that time line and start knocking on the doors and view the film," McCullough said.

Court documents reveal that Molina's father told police that Molina was the only one who drives that vehicle. Those records also show that Molina is in the United States illegally and is being held without bond for possession of narcotics. Molina took out a small bag of white powdery substance when he was stopped by police. He admitted it was cocaine.

An off-duty police officer reportedly saw Molina driving the SUV 90 minutes after the crash. Investigators will test any DNA found inside the vehicle and try to prove it was left there at the time of the crash.

"There could be tissue damage from the interior of the car, from the driver where he slammed on the breaks and his hand slips off the steering wheel and impacts the windshield. So you possibly have DNA evidence inside the car at the time of the impact that helps you establish who the driver is," McCullough said.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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