AUSTIN, Texas - More than 10 days later a man is behind bars accused of hitting and killing 3-year-old Ethan Maldonado in East Austin on the 22nd of May.
The Austin Police Department said 41-year-old Ramiro Escalante-Vasquez confessed to driving the truck, hitting Ethan and not stopping to help. Robert Falcon was the Funeral Director for Ethan Maldonado's services, “Just the overwhelming emotion of thank goodness, and we at least were able to find this person.” Falcon sent a passionate Facebook message to the hit-and-run driver, and also offered rewards to find the person who killed Ethan. After nearly two weeks, APD said they finally got the tip that broke the case. They got an anonymous tip a truck matching the description was seen in a neighborhood in Pflugerville.
“We are certainly very grateful for the entire community and whoever the person was that came forward and provided that vital piece of information, thank you, that's really all we can say at this point,” Falcon said,
The person gave APD a license plate number that came back to a White 2001 Chevy Silverado truck, the truck pictured in photos from a Capitol Metro Bus - believed to be the suspect’s vehicle. After investigating APD said the actual owner of the truck wasn't driving when Ethan was hit, but he led them to Escalante- Vasquez who was. APD said they found Escalante-Vasquez, and he confessed he was the one who hit and killed Ethan and drove away. “You have just that one little step toward the closure. I know it doesn't do anything to bring Ethan back, but it's that little footstep forward in starting to answer some of those questions that you had,” Falcon said.
Escalante-Vasquez has been charged with Fail to Stop and Render Aid, a 2nd Degree Felony, and it's not his first run in with police. According to his arrest record, Escalante-Velasquez has been arrested multiple times for DWI and assault. Falcon said this new charge is a step in the right direction of helping this family, but they still have quite a ways to go. “We have to put our faith in the legal system and let the justice system do its part and hopefully justice will prevail for little Ethan.”
Escalante-Vasquez's bail has been set $100,000. APD said they wanted to thank the Austin community for all the tips that led to his arrest.