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Sep 11, 2012 3:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suspect Still Eluding Police Two Months After Fatal Hit-and-Run Accident

Sep 12, 2012 11:33 AM

Sunday marked two months since Sister Jacqueline Walsh was mowed down while walking along the road in Water Mill and the suspected driver in the fatal hit-and-run, Carlos Armando Ixpec-Chitay, a 30-year-old undocumented Guatemalan immigrant, remains at large though police maintained this week that they are confident he will be caught.

The search at this point appears to be focused within U.S. borders—and along the West Coast—as a countrywide arrest warrant has been issued by Southampton Town Justice Court and endorsed by a Suffolk County judge.

Once located and arrested, Mr. Ixpec-Chitay faces a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident in which there was a fatality, according to authorities.

Authorities declined to say where they believe Mr. Ixpec-Chitay is hiding, though Southampton Town Police Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa said the suspect can be extradited if he is captured in another state. She also acknowledged that because Mr. Ixpec-Chitay is undocumented, “it absolutely makes it harder to find him.” Nevertheless, she said, police remain confident that he will eventually be brought to justice.

The U.S. Marshals Service has been leading the actual manhunt since Mr. Ixpec-Chitay fled the state not long after the accident on July 9.

Lenny DePaul, the chief inspector and commanding officer of the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force with the U.S. Marshals Service, said in a phone interview last week that the most recent lead in the case was that Mr. Ixpec-Chitay was somewhere on the West Coast. Mr. DePaul declined to offer a more specific location.

The New York State Police Forensic Accident Reconstruction Unit has not yet completed its report of the hit-and-run accident; it is typical for those types of reports to take several months to complete, Det. Sgt. Costa said.

When asked this week if Andrew Zaro, the owner of the car involved in the crash, would face criminal charges, she replied, “the investigation is still active on all counts” and declined to comment further.

Mr. Ixpec-Chitay is suspected of driving a 2009 Volkswagen Touareg owned by Mr. Zaro, who has a home near the scene of the fatal accident on Rose Hill Road, at about 8:30 p.m. on July 9. The driver struck and killed Sister Walsh, 59, of Syosset, ditched the SUV about a half mile away in a driveway on Crescent Avenue and fled the scene. Police said Mr. Ixpec-Chitay, who had a previous arrest for DWI, does not have a valid driver’s license.

The victim, known as Sister Jackie and a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas order, was walking along the road when she was killed. She had been on a religious retreat at the Mercy Villa retreat house, just one property north of where police found her body. Thousands turned out for her wake and burial in Nassau County in July.

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Just think of all the money that could have been saved, and the anguish the Sister's friends and family's could have been spared, IF the name, photo, AND reward was issued the day they knew.....NOT weeks after...RIP.
By just breath (82), yuck on Sep 11, 12 6:54 PM
Thank you for the new article.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Sep 11, 12 7:02 PM
I think this mysterious suspect is a scapegoat for the real driver. If you have managed to elude authorities for three weeks you are either out of the country or don't really exist. Something tells me he will never be found.
By deelove (152), Bridgehampton on Sep 11, 12 11:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
How can we put the" Nun's Story" to rest without the facts? It is a tragedy to
have lost such a wonderful and giving individual and still there are NO answers!
May Sister Jackie Rest in Peace. We shall NEVER forget her!!!
By East Ender (64), Southampton on Sep 13, 12 12:57 AM
It’s interesting that the article says the suspect is an undocumented citizen from Guatemala. So how did this picture they gave us get taken…I figured it wasn’t a school picture due to the dismal grey background and lack of smile, and I remember school pictures had weird lights, stars and beams in the background. To be fair it might be a glamour shot…But the lack of smile negates that theory as well. My simple mind can only conclude that this was a mug shot. Now if that’s ...more
By HamptonDave (4), Southampton on Sep 13, 12 11:36 PM
This coming Monday afternoon will mark the TENTH week of this case being unsolved. Chief Wilson and Supv. Throne-Holst have still not commented publicly on the wisdom behind not releasing the suspect's name and photo for 11 days after his escape.

This pregnant silence from the authorities continues to grow!

Have a good weekend.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Sep 14, 12 12:39 PM
As daylight is fading earlier, just before the Equinox, one pictures Sister Walsh walking in a similar evening light ten weeks ago, when she was moved down and abandoned, to die alone on that bucolic Water Mill road.

Rest in Peace.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Sep 17, 12 4:07 PM
If Chief Wilson returns to duty, after possibly withdrawing his retirement, he owes an explanation of why he waited to release the name and photo of the suspect for eleven days.

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 25, 12 8:59 PM