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One year later, no answers in little girl's death

Hit-and-run driver remains at large

Click on pictures to enlarge and see caption.

By Sandy Brundage

Almanac Staff Writer

A 6-year-old girl riding in a car with her parents died after a street racer broadsided their Toyota Camry at the intersection of Bayfront Expressway and Willow Road early on a clear fall afternoon last year.

Lisa Xavier was her parents' only child. The family still lives in Menlo Park, according to acquaintances.

Despite witnesses and video recordings of the Nov. 12, 2009, accident, there's still no sign of an arrest.

Witnesses saw the driver of the black 1989 Ford Mustang that struck the family's car exit his vehicle and jump into a white Honda involved in the race, which then fled the scene, police said.

Video from a surveillance camera at Sun Microsystems showed heavy traffic at the scene of the collision, and that at least one vehicle ran a red light before colliding with the vehicle carrying the family, according to police.

Shannon Fox, the 25-year-old East Palo Alto man who drove the Mustang and named a "person of interest" by police, is no longer in the Bay Area. "We are working nonstop to find him," said Cmdr. Lacey Burt of the Menlo Park Police Department.

Mr. Fox is described as a black man, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 220 pounds and muscular. The police also know him by other names: Shanon Steven Hodgson Fox; Shannon Steve Brooks.

Wherever Mr. Fox currently is, he remains a source of anguish in Menlo Park.

"It still is an open wound. It's an open wound for me personally, an open wound for our community, this wonderful small child of ours we couldn't protect," said Councilman Heyward Robinson.

"I feel like we failed her. And now ... we can't even apprehend (the people responsible) so they can be held responsible for their actions, and that keeps it an open wound," he said.

The councilman called for the community to remember Lisa and her parents. "I think there ought to be some kind of public display. ... (We need to say) that we're just not going to tolerate this in our community. We've got one of the best police departments around; if they can't track these people down, it's not for lack of effort."

A public display, Mr. Robinson hopes, may put pressure on anyone who knows where Mr. Fox is to help deliver justice in the death of a little girl.

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