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"She left her there like a dog": Family of hit-and-run victim speaks out, demands justice

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"She left her there like a dog": Family of hit-and-run victim speaks out, demands justice

CREATED Jan. 14, 2013

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -Hit and left on the side of the road. It's what Pima County Sheriff's deputies say happened to 17-year-old Ruby Martinez. Her family tells 9OYS, they're heartbroken.

"We're still waiting for her to walk through the door," says her father, Arturo Martinez.

But the sad reality is, Ruby won't be coming back.

"Her body was just destroyed and strewn along the roadway," says her mother Dora Martinez struggling to hold back tears.

Ruby was on her way to meet her boyfriend last Friday when she was hit.

"She had a last text message around 6:21p.m. that said the road was dark and lonely," said family friend Yvonne Juvera. "That was the last text text message. That was the last we heard from her."

The woman at the wheel that evening was Denise Torres. She was arrested on felony hit and run charges.

"She was left there like a dog," says her father. "How could she just leave the scene?"

Deputies tell 9OYS Torres returned hours later after her family convinced her to go check what or who she had hit. She had hit a 17-year-old girl. And by that time, Ruby's brother Arturo Martinez tells us, she was already clinically dead.

"That's not human," said Martinez. "Even if you hit a dog, you'll look at what you hit. She hit my sister and dragged her and still went home."

It's something friends and family can't wrap their minds around. News of Ruby's death has touched everyone she knew.

"She was only 17-years-old," said Juvera. "She had a lot of life to live."

At just 17, she worked at Peter Piper's Pizza to help her family with money. Her friends and co-workers are already teaming together to raise money to lay her to rest.

"If you were sad, she would always try to come up to you and make you smile," said friend and coworker Perla Valenzuela.

That smile burnt out too soon says her family. And now they want to make sure the person responsible, faces justice.

"I need more answers and they can't give it to me," said Martinez.

Friends and family have put up a makeshift memorial near San Joaquin and Nebraska. They are working to raise funds for Ruby's funeral arrangements. The family has set up a fund in her honor. If you want to help, head to any Wells Fargo bank and ask to donate to the Esmeralda and Arturo Martinez fund.

The family will also be holding a car wash fundraiser Tuesday afternoon from noon to 3 at the Burger King near Campbell and Irvington.