CLEVELAND - A tip from Crimestoppers led Cleveland police to an indictment for the October 2013 hit-skip death of 5-year-old Israel Thornton.
24-year-old Jerome Lee has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and felony hit-skip.
"Everyone is taking one day at a time," said Youth Pastor Brian Timberlake. Timberlake knew the little boy well and his family too. "The last couple of months have been real tough, real hard," said Timberlake.
Thornton was walking to school when he was struck by an SUV on Denison Avenue at West 37th Street just before 7:20 a.m. on October 25. The driver did not stop.
Lee is being held in the Cuyahoga County jail for theft charges unrelated to Thornton’s death .
According to court records, Lee posted bond October 3, 2013. He had a pretrial hearing October 24, 2013 the day before Thornton was struck and killed.
His arraignment on the aggravated vehicular homicide and felony hit-skip charges is set for 8:30 a.m. on August 13.
In the meantime, Isreal's family will celebrate his sixth birthday on Saturday, Aug. 17 at Emory Park on West 130th. The celebration is set to begin in the Cleveland park at 3 p.m.
Israel's school, Village Preps Cliffs Campus, released the following statement on the arrest:
We are heartened to learn of an arrest in this case. Nothing can fill the hole left in our hearts by Israel's tragic passing, but we remain hopeful that his family finds justice and healing.