OAKLAND, Calif. (Amber Lee/KTVU) - One East Bay family is coping with a devastating loss at the start of this new year.
A mother reached out to KTVU initially to find her missing 18-year-old daughter, Chauntel Dunkley Rochelle of Oakland.
The teenager's mother Carolyn Dunkley says she reported her daughter missing Tuesday morning after she failed to go to work, only to find out hours later, her daughter had been killed on New Year's Day.
"I was passing out flyers, knocking on doors, trying to find my daughter," says Carolyn.
The family of Chauntel had put up flyers at a gas station not far from her East Oakland home Tuesday morning, to ask for help in locating her.
The teenager's mother says the family last saw her Sunday night at home for a New Year's Eve get-together.
Relatives say they knew something was wrong when Chauntel didn't show up for work.
On Tuesday afternoon they learned from the Alameda County Coroner's Office that Chauntel had been struck and killed by a hit and run driver early New Year's Day.
"It'll never be the same," says Carolyn.
Instead of celebrating the new year, relatives and friends gathered at Chauntel's home to come to terms with their sudden loss, stunned that the driver would left the scene after hitting Chauntel.
"That's a real coward move. It could have been your mom, sister, your cousin. It's not right," says Carolyn.
Shortly after 5 a.m. Monday, family and friends say Chauntel had been returning home from spending New Year's Eve night with friends. She was only about two blocks from her home, when police say a dark colored sedan speeding southbound on 98th avenue at Sunnyside Street in East Oakland struck Chauntel as she was in the crosswalk. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.
One neighbor says he saw the 18-year-old's shoes laying on the street soon after the collision. Donald Tyler says he's had several close calls crossing the same intersection himself.
He's calling on the city to install flashing lights at the crosswalk.
"They need that right here. Doesn't make no sense to have a school and park and kids can't safely cross the street. It doesn't make any sense," says Tyler.
Chauntel had told friends that she needed to get home so she could go to work New Year's Day morning at Fallas Discount Store.
She was a cashier. A manager there described Chauntel as being among the store's best employees, that she was a great spirit, easy to get along with, a person with a good aura.
Chauntel's mother is asking the hit and run driver to surrender to police.
"I know it's killing your conscience right. I know you won't be able to rest until you come forward," says Carolyn.
Chauntel's family says they are stunned that someone so responsible could have her life ended this way.
Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
The family has set up a GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses.