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Family of hit and run victim seeking justice, notified of death through Facebook

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The family of a man killed in a hit and run on August 31 said they were notified of their loved one’s death through a Facebook message.

Ronnie Blue, 54, was killed in a hit and run accident while walking southbound in the parking lane on Michigan Street, according to St. Joseph County FACT. Investigators said he was struck by Dylan McDaniel, 26, who turned himself in the next day and told investigators he thought he hit a dog.

“His actions alone show that he knew he hit a man,” said Rhonda Blue, Blue’s daughter.

On Sunday, Blue’s family and friends held a memorial near Michigan and Bowman Street, where Blue’s body was found. His son, Marcus, describe Blue as a selfless, charismatic, and well-loved man.

“He was just an all-around type of guy,” he said. “Everybody loved my dad.”

At the memorial, Blue’s children told ABC 57 News it took two weeks for them to be notified of their father’s death.

“It was a secretary at Palmer’s Funeral Home, who got the notion to Facebook to get in contact with his family,” said Rhonda Blue.

Mike Samp with the St. Joseph County Coroner’s Office said, in partnership with the Palmer’s Funeral Home, their office contacted the family. Samp said the office had problems trying to locate people and find family through addresses linked back to Blue.

Blue’s family said he had an address in Fort Wayne, where his children live, and wished investigators would have sent information to news stations in the area so they could’ve known.

“I spoke to my dad two days before he was murdered,” Rhonda Blue said. “My dad was busy, we just assumed he was busy.”

Terrill Smith, who organized Sunday’s memorial, said Blue worked in Bremen and lived at the Center for the Homeless.

“Never in a million years would we ever had a assumed, the reason why we hadn’t heard from him in two weeks because he was murdered,” she said.  

Blue’s family said they are frustrated with the charges McDaniel has received. Smith said he would like the Prosecutor’s Office to consider Manslaughter.

“How can you let a man walk, who just took another man’s life,” Smith said. “There’s a lot to be questioned concerning the Prosecutor’s Office, the South Bend Police Department, how they handled the investigation and how they’re criminally charging with a crime that’s equivalent to shoplifting almost.”

The family said they will be at McDaniel’s trial that is set for January 7, 2019.

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