1 year anniversary of hit and run death of Heavenly Hafford - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

1 year anniversary of hit and run death of Heavenly Hafford

Poplar Bluff police say a black F-150 truck involved in the hit and run is being processed for physical evidence. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS) Poplar Bluff police say a black F-150 truck involved in the hit and run is being processed for physical evidence. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS)
Heavenly Hafford (Source: Family) Heavenly Hafford (Source: Family)
Randel C. Sparks (Source: Poplar Bluff Police Department) Randel C. Sparks (Source: Poplar Bluff Police Department)
A memorial remains more than a week after Heavenly Hafford was killed in a hit and run on Dec. 9. (Source: Sherae Honecutt/KFVS) A memorial remains more than a week after Heavenly Hafford was killed in a hit and run on Dec. 9. (Source: Sherae Honecutt/KFVS)
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -

The one-year anniversary of the hit and run death of Heavenly Hafford in Poplar Bluff, Missouri was Friday, December 9.

Steve Hafford, Heavenly's father, released this statement:

"I want to say that my family, friends, and I miss and love her dearly. We are still waiting on Prosecutor Page and the grand jury to conclude the case, but whatever the verdict is, we love and miss her everyday more."

The special prosecutor in the Heavenly Hafford case was named in July 2016.

According to Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour, Ian Page, with the Pemiscot County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, will serve as the special prosecutor.

Judge Michael Pritchett said this appointment involves Ben Ressel and any involvement he might have in the case.

Ressel was arrested, but never formally charged, in connection to the hit and run death of 13-year-old Heavenly Hafford in Poplar Bluff, Missouri on December 9, 2015.

Charges were not formally filed after the coroner's investigation revealed Hafford was killed by the first vehicle that hit her. The driver of that first vehicle, Randel Sparks, is being prosecuted for felony leaving the scene and tampering with physical evidence in Greene County.

On Thursday, July 14, 2016 Pritchett, confirmed he approved a motion to appoint a special prosecutor for the death investigation in relation to Ressel.

Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour made the motion for the special prosecutor. 

Poplar Bluff police released a statement on June 6, saying the department did request felony charges against Ressel for leaving the scene.

That statement was released after Poplar Bluff police confirmed DNA was found on the second truck believed to be involved in a hit and run that killed Heavenly Hafford.

According to police, a forensic examination showed the DNA belonged to Hafford.

Police confirmed the truck belonged to Ressel, who was previously arrested in connection to the deadly hit and run.

Heavenly Hafford's father, Steve Hafford, was filed a wrongful death suit against both sparks and Ressel.

Hafford, 13, died after she was hit by a car and then a truck.

The attorney for Steve Hafford, Heavenly's father, released the following statement:

"Mr. Barbour has his job to do and we have our job to do. On behalf of Mr. Hafford we have filed a lawsuit for the wrongful death of his daughter, Heavenly Grace Hafford, against both persons the authorities have identified as the hit and run drivers. We believe the lawsuit to be valid and will fight until justice is served."

Steve Hafford was emotional upon receiving the news.

"The fight ain't done, there still ain't justice yet... It ain't right to just run over a 13-year-old and drive away. If we need to change the law we need to stand up and go to [Jefferson City] and change the law," he said.

Poplar Bluff Police say they sympathize with the friends and family of Heavenly.

Officers responded to the intersection of Highway PP and Maud Street around 7:15 p.m. on Dec. 9, according to the Poplar Bluff Police Department.

Police say the teen was walking in the road when she was hit by a light blue Volkswagen Beetle that left the scene.

The probable cause statement says the victim had been hit by a second vehicle, a black Ford F-150, that also left the scene.

During the course of the investigation, police say they were directed by witnesses to a storage unit business, where they found the Beetle.

The car had damage and missing pieces that were consistent with pieces of evidence found at the crash site.

The front bumper of the car had been removed and was allegedly being cleaned with some sort of chemical.

The owner, 42-year-old Randel C. Sparks, of Poplar Bluff, was arrested.

Sparks was originally booked at the Butler County Justice Center. He has since been released on bail.

According to court documents, Sparks is facing felony charges of leaving the scene of an accident and tampering with evidence.

At one point police were looking for two vehicles in connection with the hit and run.

The second vehicle police were looking for was a 2012 or later model black Ford F-150 with a crew cab, 4x4 short bed and bright white headlights. They said the truck will have damage to the front.

That truck was later determined to belong to Ben Ressel.

Poplar Bluff police say they did request felony charges against Ressel for leaving the scene. Those charges were recommended in regards to the facts from an "intense investigation" were presented to the Butler County Prosecuting Attorney.

The investigation was completed by the Poplar Bluff Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

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