UPDATE: Step-father of toddler killed by truck releases statement
UPDATE: The step-father of Riley Harris, Jordan Walls, contacted Channel 3 with this statement:
"I've known Riley since she was less than a year old. Of course, I didn't have the bond she had with her birth parents but I feel as if Riley loved me and I loved her like my own daughter. There was nights where Riley wouldn't go to sleep without coming in the bedroom and cuddling with me for a few minutes. Any body who spends a significant time around me and any of my children know they are my life and they know I would never do anything that I know would put ANY child in jeopardy Much less my step daughter. I've been suffering in silence in respect to Riley's blood relatives and close friends. I've wrecked my mental state thinking of the things I could've done better but nothing changes what happens. No amount of apologies will make up for the pain I've inflected on Kayla and her family but I still apologize for it all."
Police have not charged Walls or anyone else in connection with Riley Harris' death.
Family members of two-year-old Riley Harris spoke to Channel 3 Friday for the first time. Riley was hit and killed by a truck in Murray County on Oct. 16th.
Riley's family members say she was a funny, sweet, and loving toddler, and her death was preventable.
Joshua Harris watches a video daily of his two-year-old daughter Riley saying 'I love you,' since she died.
"I kind of knew in my gut that something was wrong when I pulled up," said Harris. "Everything had already happened."
On that night, Riley and her two-year-old step-brother wandered out of the house and into the street.
"Riley's missing," said Mary Harris, Riley's Grandmother. "I said what do you mean Riley's missing?"
"It was the hardest moment I will ever live through," said Mary. "My baby is no longer here."
It was Mary who told Kelly Bloodworth, Riley's other grandmother that Riley had died.
"She called me and said, Riley's gone, and I'm like, gone where?" said Bloodworth.
A truck had hit Riley. The driver in the accident was not charged, and police called it a horrible accident.
"I don't blame them, I feel for them and if they want to reach out, they can," said Joshua. "I know it was traumatic for them... So my family, none of us blame them for it, and I feel like they're young people and I know it's bothering them just like it's bothering us, so no I don't have any resentment towards either one of the drivers."
Riley's mother Kayla Harris wasn't home when it happened. She left Riley with her step-father.
"When I left he was in the kitchen with them, because I had just put a snack for them at the table," said Kayla.
She says she almost didn't go leave with her eight-year-old daughter that night.
"I have a lot of what if's," said Kayla. "What if I were to stay at home? What if I would have took them with me? I would have been there sooner?"
Kayla's mother, Kelly Bloodworth, tries to comfort her.
"That it's not her fault and she thought she left her with someone she thought she could trust to watch her," said Bloodworth.
But Bloodworth also has questions.
"You know a two-year-old can bolt at the speed of lightning and getting away from you and you can't let them. You have to watch them, and that's the part I don't understand," said Bloodworth.
They're hoping an investigation by the Murray County Sheriff's Office and the GBI provides answers.
"It was an unfortunate accident, but it was a preventable one, very preventable," said Mary Harris.
As the investigation continues, everyone is trying to adjust to a new normal.
"It don't seem right," said Joshua. "There are days I think she is still coming home, and she's not."
"She would say, 'You OK? You OK Nanny? I love you,'" said Mary. "I can't hear those words no more from her."
They hold onto their memories of Riley, who they describe as a two-year-old with a bold personality.
"She always loved to talk, so she would just come out and you wouldn't know what she was saying, she would use her hands," said Kayla.
"When she walked into the nursery, she would go hi guys, just waving, whether she knew them or not," said Kayla. "She was just happy."
"She loved to walk around my yard and smell my flower, and pick them. She would put them in her hair, and take them to her mom," said Mary.
"That's what makes it hard now, all the joy has been taken out of anybody's life that knew her," said Joshua.
They still feel her presence.
"My youngest son was digging in the backyard, and out of nowhere found a cross just a little cross like she gave it to him," said Joshua.
They hope other parents remember Riley's story.
"So as far your kids hug them, love them, and make sure you spend time with them, and tell them you love them everyday, because I would give anything to do that, and I can't," said Joshua.
Channel 3 checked in with the Murray County Sheriff's Office Friday, they say the investigation is still open and ongoing.