8-year-old killed in Brooklyn Center hit-and-run; mother speaks out

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Minnesota State Patrol is searching for the driver responsible for hitting and killing an 8-year-old girl Thursday in Brooklyn Center.

Authorities describe the car involved as a white 2015 to 2020 Nissan Rogue that likely has damage to the right front side. State Patrol identified the victim as 8-year-old Iliana Tasso.

Her mother, Aisha Apoudjak, said she’s doing her best to move forward.

“I’m going to miss the bond we had as mother and daughter. She was always with me,” Apoudjak said in a phone interview.

Apoudjak said her daughter never left her side. The duo spent every moment together.

“She was a good child, full of life,” she said.

Her daughter is autistic. Apoudjak said the 8-year-old often wandered off so she kept her within eyesight.

Last Thursday, she said they were going to bed in the same room, but she fell asleep first.

“In the matter of maybe five minutes, by the time I opened my eyes and woke up, I couldn’t find her,” Apoudjak said.

She started searching for her daughter when she saw a sea of police lights on Highway 252, which is about a five-minute walk from her home.

“By the time I got there, the accident already happened and they covered her,” she said.

The hit-and-run happened just after 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

Minnesota State Patrol said the vehicle was headed south on Highway 252 at 66th Avenue when the driver hit the little girl and left the scene.

Officials said Illiana was alone at the time of the crash.

“Oh my God, I don’t want to recall. It wasn’t pleasant,” Apoudjak said.

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare unfolding days before New Year’s Eve. And, Apoudjak said the little girl’s father left for Africa on Wednesday to visit home.

Apoudjak is urging the driver to come forward.

“It will not help me heal, but it’s the right thing to do. You can’t just run away like that,” she said.