Investigators still looking for Hannah Turgeon's killer
SOUTH BEND, Ind.— Beautiful, loving, kind, intelligent, are all words that thoughtfully describe 27-year old Hannah Turgeon, a young woman whose life was taken in an instant.
“Hannah had a very outgoing and loving attitude towards life and to everyone she encountered,” Hannah’s father Paul Turgeon said.
“Hannah was just super genuine to everybody she met, if you were one of the few lucky people to had been friends with Hannah, if you saw Hannah she would scream, give you a big hug,” close friend Leah Malm said.
“She was, she was very bright, she was a very wholesome, you know? I mean just a really, a really good person,” University of Notre Dame professor Robin Rhodes said.
In the same instant, Hannah’s father Paul Turgeon went from enjoying life with his daughter to reminiscing about the life she left behind.
“The one word that I’ve used in the last year to describe her has been spectacular. She was, she was just such a light to everybody,” Paul said.
Friends close to Hannah said it’s fitting she was born on Christmas day, because every day with Hannah was cause for celebration.
“She really celebrated all of her friend's victories, so if you did well on a test or got a job or got engaged or whatever she was just so happy for all of her friends, all of her family and just really loved deeply the people that were lucky enough to be close with her,” Malm said.
“She always did things for people and was always remembering people whether it was a little gift or card or something. She was just, she was just a great kid,” Paul said.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Hannah followed the footsteps of her father and grandpa moving East to South Bend, Indiana to attend college at the University of Notre Dame in 2010. Her major was Art History, and she was a standout student.
“Hannah was just a very positive presence and class and was just a good student,” Professor Rhodes said. “She did extremely well on the first paper, one of the best two or three papers in the class. Very few students do really well on the first paper.
After graduation, Hannah moved to Denver, Colorado for work, but her love for the Fighting Irish never left, and one year ago today on October 13th, 2019, Hannah and her father booked a trip back to South bend to watch their alma mater beat USC.
“We were able to meet in South Bend and go to the game and we, her friends were there, and my friends were there, and we just had a great time,” Paul said.
However, that great time quickly changed into a day her family would never forget.
After the game, Hannah and her father met with a group of friends to celebrate the win at the Linebacker Lounge. At around 2:15 AM, Hannah turned to cross the other side of State Road 23 where her father was waiting, and was struck by a dark SUV, killing her.
“I actually saw her the night that she passed away. So just, in disbelief and kind of still am in disbelief,” Malm said.
The vehicle sped off and 12 long, grueling months later, family and friends are still left without any answers, while prosecutors still work to bring justice to the family.
“We have a lot of information, but it hasn’t been put together yet to definitively identify a suspect, and that's part of what we’re looking here at the one-year anniversary of,” Chief Deputy Prosecutor Eric Tamashasky said. “This is something that is just senseless, it happened in front of her father. I mean none of us like unsolved cases in the history of FACT there's precious few unsolved cases, so all of these cases bother us, and they bother us because that's a family that just doesn't know. There’s a big question mark as to what happened and what was going on.”
While investigators continue to work the case, this distraught dad works to make sure his daughter’s legacy never dies, writing a song in her memory, and also established the Hannah K. Turgeon Memorial Scholarship Fund at Notre Dame for students that mentor local disadvantaged children.
Despite Hannah’s life being preserved through song and scholarship; friends, family, even officials still want to know who was driving that dark SUV.
“I don't know that I have a message for the person responsible, but just that I know that this family has suffered and continue to suffer and I don't know if they're ever going to get closure but I think knowing that the person out there has accepted responsibility would help with that,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer McKinney said.
“Somebody knows something, that person needs to step up, needs to give us a call, needs to pay us a visit, whatever they need to do,” Commander of St. Joseph County Fatal Crash Team Tim Spencer said.
And if hearing from investigators don’t change your mind, maybe these final words from a man who lost his daughter will.
“You know I know that nothing's going to bring her back and nothing's going to change what happened. I just hope there can be some resolution to it, you know I'm not looking for a pound of flesh or anything else, I just want a little bit of closure and you know I want that person to be able to come to terms with it and they can heal and we can heal,” Paul said.
“I just want people to remember her, her smile and her generosity and you know we have wristbands and things with the slogan “live life like Hannah”, you know because she was, she was so kind and loving and forgiving of people to that I would just want people to remember her that way and to live their lives that way in her honor.”
Michiana Crime Stoppers and Hannah’s family have a reward of $10,000 to anyone with any information that leads to the arrest of the person responsible in the deadly hit and run crash.
Investigators said that they won’t stop until they find justice for Hannah and her family and are pleading the public to say something if you know something.
To leave a tip, call (574) 288-STOP.