Mother dies after she, and 3-year-old son, struck in Hunting Park hit-and-run

Investigators believe the mother and son just left their house only a few blocks away when they were hit.

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Friday, August 13, 2021
Mother dies after hit-and-run driver strikes her, 3-year-old son
Rebecca Malave, a mother who was the victim of a hit-and-run earlier this week in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia has died.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Mylar balloons shaped like flowers and stars reflect the sunlight on the corner of Luzerne St. and Rising Sun Avenue in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia.

But the family who placed them there say their lives, right now, are anything but bright.

"We're heartbroken," said Lorraine Graulau as she stood with members of her family, including her brother and stepmother.

The family is mourning the death of 37-year-old Rebecca Malave, who was hit by a car while walking with her son on Sunday night in the 100 block of West Luzerne Street.

Graulau says that Malave passed away on Friday after the family made a difficult decision in the hospital where her sister had been in a coma for five days.

"At this time, we have lost my sister. My sister lost her fight," said Graulau.

The family now hopes someone will step forward to help them find the driver and figure out what happened. The area of the crash is a busy intersection that leads to an overpass.

"I stayed here for a minute," said Andrea Aponte, Malave's aunt. "I wanted to count the cars. But I lost count. Somebody saw something."

The family isn't sure if Malave was making her way to a sidewalk, crossing the street or trying to avoid an overgrown grassy area along her walk.

Rebecca Malave and her 3-year-old son Armani were walking in the Hunting Park section of the city when they were hit.

"We have no answers. We don't know what, how, who, when. We don't know nothing. All we know, at 8 o'clock here (Sunday), my sister lost her life," said Graulau.

Malave's, three-year-old son, Armani Negron, is still in St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. His aunt says his condition, once critical, is slowly improving.

"As long as he continues to respond to the treatment... we have a long road ahead of us, but he is going to be ok, God willing," said Graulau.

His recovery could be due to the actions of a mysterious motorcyclist who police say pulled over and helped Armani as paramedics were working on his mom.

"Oh my God, we don't even know how to thank him," said Aponte.

The family is begging people to step forward after the hit-and-run took away the only parent Armani and his one-year-old sister had left.

Their father was murdered on the day after Thanksgiving in 2020.

"They lost their dad and now they mom," said Rebecca's brother, Homi Malave, through tears. "I know when they grow up they're not going to know anything about them. My sister was the best person ever. The best mom ever."

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As of Friday afternoon, Philadelphia police had no information for 6abc on the suspect or vehicle description. The family is pleading for anyone who knows or saw anything to step forward.

"At this point, we're begging," said Graulau. "My family is here and we are begging. We are at your mercy. Just somebody please say something!"