Reward now offered in deadly hit-and-run investigation in Las Cruces; victim’s family pleads for justice

New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) The Las Cruces Crimestoppers is now offering a $1,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of the suspects who are accused in a hit-and-run crash that killed a man and left another injured in Las Cruces.

43-year-old Jaime Valenciano was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street near the intersection of Espina Street and Arizona Avenue in Las Cruces on Monday. Jaime died at the scene. His family told KTSM 9 News they can’t understand why the driver didn’t stop.

Jaime Valenciano

“What if they had a chance to be revived and these people are just so cruel and they just leave the scene without even bothering to check the person or call for medical attention,” said Mariah Estrada the Daughter of Jamie Valenciano.

Valenciano was a father of three and had two grandchildren. His daughter said he never got to meet his newest grandbaby.

Jaime Valenciano with his family

“Because of the whole COVID situation, he didn’t have a chance to hold him to see him… to meet him,” said Estrada.

A warrant is out for the arrest of 40-year-old Heather Mariah Grace Funk and 34-year-old Earnest Thomas Fudge. They are the two people police believe were in the vehicle that hit Valenciano and a 60-year-old man. The 60-year-old victim is recovering at University Medical Center in El Paso.

“I just want them to come forward and do the right thing,” said Estrada.

Although Valenciano and the other man were not in a designated crosswalk when they were hit according to LCPD, the person driving still should have stopped.

Heather Funk and Earnest Fudge

“There may have not been a crosswalk but I have would have seen a pedestrian crossing the street I would do the right thing and stop,” said Estrada.

“It’s an area where it is very dimly lit and a driver would not have able to see them very easily, that being said the person who was driving that vehicle should have stopped, rendered aid, and dialed 911 immediately,” said Dan Trujillo a Spokesperson for the Las Cruces Police Departement.

LCPD added that this was the third hit and run accident in the past three weeks.

Detectives said the vehicle driven by the suspects was located by police and had significant damage consistent with it being involved in a hit-and-run. Investigators were able to obtain a search warrant for the vehicle and located documents inside that belonged to both Funk and Fudge.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Las Cruces police at (575) 526-0795. Tips can be provided anonymously by calling Las Cruces Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

The family has also set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral expenses.

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