Anna Dieter-Eckert, Abigail Robinson. Photo provided by family
FOREST GROVE, OR (KPTV) -
The family of two girls hit and killed in Forest Grove released a statement thanking the community for all the support and encouraging parents to hug their children.
A day after being struck by a car while playing in leaves in Forest Grove, 11-year-old Abigail Robinson died at Randall Children's Hospital Monday night, according to the Multnomah County Medical Examiner's Office.
She and her 6-year-old half-sister Anna Dieter-Eckert were playing in a pile of leaves that spilled out onto the street in the 1700 block of Main Street 8:25 p.m. Sunday.
A car crashed into them, and the driver kept on going. It wasn't clear whether the girls were standing up or sitting or whether they were covered by the leaves at the time they were hit.
The father of the girls was taking pictures of them playing in the leaves before the crash. He went back into the house momentarily to put the camera away, and in that brief moment, he heard the engine of a car, according to police.
Dieter-Eckert was pronounced dead at the scene, while Robinson was rushed to a hospital, where she died at 11:24 p.m. Monday.
The family continues to grieve in private, but they did release a statement Tuesday saying: "We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support. We feel it, we really feel it. We made a point of hugging and loving our girls every chance we could. We just want to encourage you to hug your children. Hug and love your kids as often as you can. Our girls lived a love-drenched life. We know where they are now. We know they are together in perfect peace with their creator."
Police said the vehicle that hit them has been found and will be forensically searched and processed.
No arrests were made Monday night and no other information was released, as police cited the "very active and dynamic investigation."
Detectives wouldn't elaborate on how they found the car.
A memorial grew at the scene of the crash Monday with flowers and stuffed animals.
Hundreds of people then met for a candlelight vigil at Sonrise Church in Forest Grove Monday night.
"They represent a little bit of light in the midst of some pretty serious, intense pain right now," said James Gleason, the lead pastor at Sonrise Church.
Grief counselors have been made available at the schools of Robinson and Dieter-Eckert.
"It's been very challenging to say anything to this family," said campus pastor Rudy Tinoco at the vigil Monday night. "And so I've chosen to not say much and just hug them and love them in a way that words can't communicate."
Abigail Robinson was in the sixth grade. Her sister was in the first grade.
"Abby was a very positive, very fun student. She always had a smile on her face," said principal Chandra Cooper.
Anna Dieter-Eckert was in the first grade, and principal Angella Graves described her as an eager learner who leaves behind several best friends.
"Although it was her first year, she already made a dozen best friends in first grade. She was a sweetheart of a girl, considerate of others, a hard worker," Graves said. "She was always smiling. If you could have 30 Annas in your classroom, you would want that."
An account has been set up for the family. Police said donations can be made to the "Dieter-Robinson Fund" at any Columbia Community Bank or the Forest Grove Sonrise Church. Questions about donations can be directed to the church at 503-640-2449.
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