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Family seeks answers to boy's hit-and-run death in Vista nearly 3 decades ago

Family seeks answers to 1993 hit-and-run death of 8-year-old
Posted at 4:44 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-04 10:32:51-04

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - Nearly three decades after a 9-year-old Vista boy was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, family members are continuing their search of justice.

Late in the afternoon on May 30, 1993, 6-year-old Kyle Leitzke was playing in a side yard, when big brother, Ryan, 9, went after a ball while playing catch with a friend.

Witnesses say he crossed the road, got the ball and was waiting on the shoulder when he was struck.

“I remember hearing some noises—the crash—and not really knowing what it was,” said Kyle Leitzke.

Witnesses say the Toyota pickup stopped. A composite sketch was released after the accident of the driver, who got out briefly, looking panicked, before getting back in the truck and taking off. Ryan would die at the scene.

“I struggled a long time, with … what if he was here … when I was a teenager and stuff,” said Leitzke.

Ryan's death devastated his family, including his parents and three siblings.

His parents and other family maintained the memorial at the accident, year after year, in hopes of receiving tips, even as the case grew cold.

“My family wants this person to be held accountable,” said Leitzke.

Family members have said they want to keep the case alive to motivate the driver or someone who knows something, to come forward—for Ryan.

“I think personally for me, it’d be really nice to honor and remember him without the weight of the lack of closure,” said Leitzke.

Kyle, who remembers Ryan as the cool big brother he followed around, says his brother was also known for his big heart.

“His last birthday, when he turned nine, he donated all his birthday money to the local soup kitchen,” said Leitzke.

Leitzke is now hoping someone else, after all this time, will open their heart and give his family the answers they have searched so long for.

“It would be really awesome, I know for me, to honor and celebrate Ryan’s anniversary and birthday without this cloud of not knowing,” said Leitzke.

The truck was described as a tan or cream-colored Toyota pickup truck with multicolored stripes and some equipment tarped in the back. The driver was described as between 30 and 40 years old, medium height with brown, slightly wavy hair, and wearing wire frame glasses.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact the CHP at (760) 643-3400 or the Leitzke family at (760) 522-7445.