Family seeks details about 72-year-old hit, killed by car

first_imgOn Oct. 9, 72-year-old Betty Rodriguez left her Simi Valley home – no matter whether she wanted to – wearing pink curlers in her hair and white ballerina slippers. Besides the occasional stroll to the local market for Snickers bars, Rodriguez rarely strayed from her home. But on this fateful day three weeks ago, she inexplicably ended up 10 miles away in Chatsworth, where she was hit by a car and died. Now, her family is trying to figure out how she got there. “I have no idea what happened to her,” said her daughter, Maria Reed, who lived nearby. When she was hit by the car, it was reported she had dementia. But her relatives said it was better described as short-term memory loss and that she had never wandered away from home and gotten lost before. “About eight years ago, she started to lose her short-term memory, but she was still a fully functioning person. She cooked, she learned things,” her daughter said. “If you would give her a new phone number, she would forget it. If her grandchildren didn’t come for a few years, she might not recognize them.” When she was found, she was carrying some advertisements sent to her home address. “It just doesn’t seem probable that she got herself all the way from Simi Valley to Chatsworth,” said Reed’s husband, Scott. “It seems like she must have got in a car with somebody. We’d like to know so that we could have closure.” Jennifer Tilton, who lives in Denver, said the news of her grandmother’s death came as a terrible blow. “It’s hard not to have that closure, to say goodbye,” Tilton said. “She helped raise me. … Her biggest concern was to always be there for her family, to have a solid, strong home that anyone could come back to.” Anyone with information about the case can call (805) 522-3574 or toll free at (877) 828-1031. [email protected] (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECalifornia’s bungled $1 billion accounting system The family has gone through numerous possibilities – she walked over windy and dark Santa Susana Pass Road to the Valley; she somehow trudged through the train tunnel; she was abducted. But so far, there’s no reasonable explanation. Police, relatives and volunteers searched for Rodriguez the evening she disappeared. About 10p.m., Los Angeles police called to say she had been hit by a car on Topanga Canyon Boulevard near Chatsworth Street. “It appears that she walked away from her home,” Simi Valley police Lt. Paul Fitzpatrick said. “There is no indication of any foul play.” Rodriguez had lived in Simi Valley more than 40 years with her husband of 44 years, Mariano. They raised four daughters and three sons, and helped raise some of their 14 grandchildren. Mariano died six years ago. “She loved us all. She was all about family,” Reed said. “No matter what somebody did, she would try to make things better. … She liked to dress up and sparkle. She loved to sew and embroider. She had a doll collection. She was a great cook.” Rodriguez was last seen by a part-time caregiver who left her home about 3:30p.m. The nearly 5-foot-tall woman was wearing her customary black outfit, with pink curlers in her hair and apparently without the black hat that she usually wore throughout the day. She wore white ballerina slippers. last_img

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