Eleven days after Sister Jacqueline Walsh was fatally struck by an SUV while on an evening walk on a quiet Water Mill street, have released the name and photograph of the man suspected to have been behind the wheel.
Carlos Armando Ixpec-Chitay, 30, was named as the suspect, described as a 30-year-old Hispanic male, with dark brown/black hair, brown eyes, 5 feet and 7 inches tall, and approximately 140 pounds. Police said he is known to frequent areas of Water Mill and Riverhead, and has a Guatemalan passport.
Police Chief William Wilson said he hopes the manhunt gets national media attention, because investigators now know the suspect has fled New York State.
"It is clear to us at this point that the suspect is no longer in the area," Wilson said.
Detectives did not release the name and photograph of the suspect earlier because active leads and good information was streaming in, the chief said. In fact, he added, "We were very close to him a few times." However, the suspect has stayed on the move and each time was gone before police arrived.
Southampton police are working with the U.S. Marshals, Suffolk County district attorney's office and other agencies, and now are turning to the public for help in apprehending Ixpec-Chitay.
"We are not going to stop looking for this guy until he is taken into custody," Wilson said.
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Wilson said he is aware that there are conspiracy theories that the police are protecting the real driver. He called the theories "patently ridiculous."
On the night of the hit-and-run, just a half mile from the scene, detectives located an unoccupied 2009 Volkswagen Touareg with front-end damage. Wilson said the suspect was an employee of the registered owner of the SUV, Andrew Zaro, who lives on the street where Sister Jackie was killed.
Sister Jackie, 59, who was a pastoral associate at in Syosset, was on retreat in Water Mill with fellow Sisters of Mercy, staying at a retreat house on Rose Hill Road. It was reportedly typical of her to go on walks alone.
A passerby discovered her body at 8:30 that night and called police.