Friends of the Root family held a fundraiser Sunday to raise money to help catch Eswin Mejia who is still on the loose.
Mejia is suspected of being the drunk driver that killed Sarah Root just outside of Donahue’s Pub on 32nd & L Streets in January.
After posting a $5000 bond, Mejia fled and is now on Immigration Customs Enforcement’s top 10 most wanted list. Omaha Crime Stoppers is offering a $5000 reward for information leading to Mejia’s arrest.
“I would’ve never in a million years thought that he would’ve been able to run and not be here to be accountable for what he has done to my daughter,” said Michelle Wilson-Root, Sarah’s mom.
Sarah’s friends and family believe that an increased reward will help bring Mejia to justice faster.
“We don’t feel like enough is being done, so we feel like we need to step in and raise the bar,” said Brandy Howell.
Howell is a close family friend who helped organize the event at Donahue's, which included a spaghetti dinner and a raffle. Raffles tickets cost a dollar, and the spaghetti dinner, which featured homemade meatballs and sauce, was $10. The family will use the money to increase the reward for information for an arrest. They may also hire a private investigator or bounty hunter to help catch Mejia.
Sarah’s best friend, Kari McDermott also came to support her friend.
“I’m just really glad to be here to support the Root family. Just another way to give back to what her family has done for me,” said McDermott.
Frank Nowak and Cheryl Sweet had never meet the root family, but wanted to offer their support.
“Just feel a responsibility to help them in any way that we can,” said Nowak.
“These people need our help and our support. They’ve lost a daughter," said Sweet.
Wilson-Root recalled that it was 30 weeks ago Saturday that Sarah received her diploma, and exactly 30 weeks from the day of the fundraiser that she was struck and killed.
“We’re out 30 weeks, and it’s not any easier than it was day one,” said Wilson-Root.
The Root family has since been involved politically, introducing Sarah’s Law, which would require illegal immigrants to be detained if they were accused of killing or seriously injuring someone.
The Roots attended the Roast and Ride at the Iowa State Fair with Sen. Joni Ernst yesterday, and met again with Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the fair.
“He truly does care, and I wish people could see what we all see in him,” said Wilson-Root.
Trump has been outspoken against undocumented immigrants and has taken up the Root family’s cause.
“One such border crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl, named Sarah Root,” Trump said in a speech at the Republican National Convention in July.
Michelle Wilson-Root said she will never stop until Mejia is caught, “And I’ll be darned if I’m going to let her killer go free and not protect the next person that he will kill.”
The Root family and their friends will also be out at the polls in November encouraging people to vote "no" to retaining Judge Jeffrey Marcuzzo. Scott Root, Sarah’s dad, and Michelle say that Judge Marcuzzo set far too low a bond for Mejia, allowing him to flee.