Twenty years after son killed, woman makes plea for answes
marc bence/for metro edmonton
A mother still coping with the loss of her teenaged son after he was killed by a hit-and-run driver over two decades ago has issued a public plea for someone, anyone, to step forward and provide answers to police.
"A mother never gets over the loss of a child, and it has affected my life and my other son’s life for a long time," Donna Nelson, 60, said yesterday. "It would be good to get this final chapter over with."
Back on Feb. 19, 1985, her 16-year-old son, Robert Phillips, was riding a bicycle near 127 Ave. and 88 St. when he was struck by what police believe was a late 1970s model Ford Econoline Van.
A taxi driver, who was in the neighbourhood around 7 p.m., spotted the teen’s crumpled bicycle and the teenager, who was lying nearby.
Despite the cabbie’s efforts to keep the boy alive, Phillips later died in hospital.
Police made numerous calls for information, but as time went on with no one coming forward, the case simply turned cold.
"It’s like there is something always missing in your life," Nelson, who was a single mother when Phillips died, said. "And of course, any holiday brings this out even more because there is always an empty space."
Phillips was passionate about the arts, music and drama. He also loved making people laugh, she said.
"That’s what we miss the most as a family because he was the feel-good person," she said.
Rocky Maze, a retired police officer, was seven years into his career when he took on the hit-and-run case. Maze said he’s still troubled because no one has come forward or has been apprehended.
"When I spoke to (Nelson), I basically said that the Edmonton police force would do everything to find this person and I would find this person," he said. "I’ve seen many investigations come to a conclusion by finding or apprehending someone, but this is one case that just sticks in my mind."