DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Kenya Smith, 22, was walking to work when DeKalb County Police said a driver fatally hit her and drove away.
Her father and aunts said Kenya was independent and loved working. They are now looking for answers and searching for justice from states away.
Kenya was Lee Smith's only child.
"I kind of sensed something was wrong that morning because the night before I couldn’t sleep and I sleep very well," Lee said. "The night before I couldn’t sleep.”
Lee, who lives in New York, had a feeling something was wrong Monday morning. That thought was confirmed once Kenya's aunt called him.
“Her aunt kept beating around the bush and she said, 'It's Kenya.' I said, 'What’s wrong?' I know something wrong’s going on.' She finally got the nerve to tell me she was hit. Next, my heart dropped," Lee said.
Kenya was killed in a hit-and-run Monday morning when she was walking along Marbut Road near Lithonia Industrial Blvd, according to DeKalb County Police.
Authorities said Kenya Smith was fatally struck on Jan. 31 at 6:30 a.m. The driver has not been identified yet.
"Please just turn yourself in, man," Lee said. "We know it was an accident... so please."
Kenya's aunts, Vickie and Crystal, who live in New Jersey, are urging people to be on the lookout.
“I truly will miss her smile. I learned from her about being grateful... that it’s a great asset," Vickie said. "I don't have any daughters but she was the type of girl that whatever you did for her, she was extremely appreciative. We lost a sweetheart."
The make and model of the vehicle are not yet known but investigators said the vehicle should have damage to its right front side.
“Kenya definitely didn’t deserve what happened to her," Crystal said. "For her to be left... her helpless body to be left on a road like that. It really wasn’t fair for her. She had a bright future."
Her family said her future included dancing, swimming, and traveling, which were some of her favorite things to do. It also included more time with those she loved.
“She lit up the world. We lost an angel, my niece. She was a butterfly. I see Kenya every day now in my daughter. She was a blessing," Crystal added.
Kenya had moved to Georgia from New York a few years ago to live with extended family and work.
She had two older sisters but was Lee's only child.
“From the day she was born, she was happy. I really loved her with all my heart. She was friendly, loved to play. She was beautiful," he said.
If you were in the area around that time, DeKalb County Police said to call detectives at (770) 724-7610 or call Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta at (404) 577-TIPS.