Individual Is Cooperating With InvestigatorsBy Reg Chapman

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (WCCO) — Investigators think they have found the hit-and-run driver who killed a little girl on a Twin Cities highway.

Eight-year-old Iliana Tasso had slipped out of her Brooklyn Center home on the night of Dec. 30, 2021, and tried to cross Highway 252.

Her mother, Aisha Apoudjak, says finding the driver will never heal her broken heart.

“She was my only child,” Apoudjak said. “She was a good child, she was fun. We play together.”

Apoudjak says she will miss her daughter’s smile the most. Iliana had autism and stayed close by her side, only separated from her during school hours. The night of the hit and run, she was trying to get her daughter to sleep.

Iliana Tasso (credit: Aisha Apoudjak/CBS)

“I fall a little bit into sleep. By the time I wake up, it was a matter of some minutes, by the time I wake up, I open my eyes, she was nowhere to be found,” she said. “I went into the living room and the door was open. I went outside looking for her, and then I can hear by the highway the police.”

Apoudjak says she drove towards the flashing lights near Highway 252 and 66th Avenue North. What she saw will forever haunt her.

“Her body was already on the floor,” she said.

Apoudjak was upset to learn the person responsible just drove off. Now, she is relieved that person may be held accountable.

“They called me this morning, they said the person, the driver has been found,” she said. “It won’t bring her back, but at least it’s something.”

The Minnesota State Patrol says the apparent driver of the SUV is cooperating with investigators. No charges have been filed in this case.

Reg Chapman