Toddler still critical as hit-and-run search continues

- An all-out search continues for the driver of the car that hit a little 3-year-old Highlands County girl this weekend and kept going.

Briana Fuentes was walking with her family in downtown Avon Park just after 5 p.m. Saturday.  They were trying to cross North Lake Avenue when the car hit her, then took off.

The sheriff says they actually have pictures of the child up on the hood of that car -- believed to be a white Chevrolet Malibu -- just after it hit her.  But even worse, the sheriff says there is no doubt that the driver knew they'd hit a child and they kept going.

"Anybody with a kind of conscience would want to stop and see if they're OK or not OK. But to hit a little one? And knowingly hit a little one? No doubt in my mind they have some conscience issue," Sheriff Susan Benton offered.

Briana is in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital.  Her parents are at her side and say she's been put in a medically induced coma.

The suspect's Malibu appeared to have tinted windows, with a sunroof and spoiler.  The sheriff says they have a blurred surveillance photo of the license plate.  They're working to get the photo enhanced while contacting everyone in the area who owns that kind of car.

If you know anything about this, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office would like to hear from you. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward by contacting Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS or www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com.

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