A 27-year-old Arcadia resident was killed in a hit-and-run, and relatives questioned why police and Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner officials waited two weeks before notifying them.
Arekel Marcel Carranco was fatally struck the night of June 30 by a 17-year-old driver as he crossed Huntington Drive, ABC7 reported.
Arcadia police said the teen was attempting to elude a traffic stop and tore through a red light before colliding with Carranco, who was walking through a crosswalk, according to ABC7. The driver then ran from the crime scene, but police rapidly apprehended him.
Mourners gathered at Sunday at a Glendale church that Carranco attended regularly.
“He would make everybody laugh, his smile was infectious,” Carranco’s cousin Coleen Garcia told ABC7. “He loved kids, he loved us. We couldn’t stay mad at him, or he couldn’t stay mad at anybody.”
Family members expressed confusion about why they were not notified of Carranco’s death for two weeks.
“Arekel was a blessing to our family,” Carranco’s aunt Porschea Williams told ABC7. “We want more information from the coroner’s office on why there was a lapse in notifying us, and more information from Arcadia PD because right now they won’t give us (any) information.”
Arcadia Police Sgt. Quiroz told Arcadia Weekly that “the corner does its own separate investigation, and notification to the next of kin is done by the coroner.” Quiroz did not address the alleged lack of information sharing.
Medical Examiner officials provided this statement to Arcadia Weekly:
“The Department of Medical Examiner (DME) began its intake and search for the legal next of kin on July 1, once DME had received and positively identified the decedent. DME will not confirm an identification until the Department is satisfied that this standard has been made.
“DME uses various databases to find contact information if the legal next of kin’s information is not readily available with the decedent,” the statement continued. “DME began calling the returned numbers in the search, leaving messages when possible. It wasn’t until July 13 when DME was finally able to contact an extended family member who put DME in touch with Mr. Carranco’s mother to confirm the death of her son. DME makes every effort to contact next of kin in a timely manner, exhausting all resources available until contact is made.”
According to the department’s next-of-kin policy, “The Coroner will allow (a law enforcement) agency 24 hours to complete their notification effort. After that period, the Coroner will initiate its own efforts to notify the legal next of kin.”
A detailed explanation of the Medical Examiner’s notification policies is available at mec.lacounty.gov/for-law-enforcement-and-legal/#1525909051188-93ca8e70-4cd1.
In an effort to cover funeral costs, a GoFundMe page has been established for Carranco’s relatives: gofundme.com/f/arekel-carranco-27-gone-to-soon-tragically.