Witnesses urged to come forward in fatal hit-run

Police arrest 2 accused of witness tampering

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter


Updated: January 25, 2014, 12:20 AM


Tips sought

Investigators continue to seek tips in Sunday’s fatal hit-and-run and ask people with information to call the Vancouver Police Department at 360-487-7402. Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for any information that leads to an arrest in the case. Tipsters can remain anonymous. People can submit tips online at Crime Stoppers; text 823HELP followed by the tip to 274637; or call 503-823-4357.

A woman connected to the prime suspect in the fatal hit-and-run crash earlier this week is asking anyone with information to come forward.

“Two people were killed, a 12-year-old boy lost his mom,” she said. “That’s a pretty serious thing. To try and hide that, to me, is pretty awful.”

The woman wished to remain anonymous, but police confirmed that she has been a source of information for their investigation.

Around 8:45 p.m. Friday, Vancouver police arrested Linda Smith, 63, and Kalista Andino Rubio, 21, in the 2800 block of Northwest Madrona. According to the police, Smith faces two counts of witness tampering; Andino Rubio faces one.

The driver in the collision is still at large.

Raisa Mosh, 45, and Irina Gardinant, 28, were crossing Northeast Vancouver Mall Drive at 72nd Avenue about 8 p.m. Sunday when a white pickup struck the women and fled the scene, police said. Mosh died at the scene, and Gardinant died in the hospital. Mosh’s 12-year-old son suffered minor injures in the incident.

Police on Friday asked that the driver and any other occupants of a dark-colored pickup that came through the intersection immediately after the crash share what they saw by calling the agency’s tip line: 360-487-7399. Investigators said there is no evidence that the dark-colored pickup was involved in the crime, but that those in the vehicle may have witnessed the incident.

Detectives got a break in the case Tuesday, when they located and seized a white pickup with front-end damage from the Larkspur Place Apartments, 7609 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive.

But police said the registered owner of the pickup and the person’s associates aren’t saying anything about what happened.

“The problem with this case is we have quite a few people that are close to the suspect … but everyone by and large would not provide us with any assistance or information,” Major Crimes Detective Sgt. Troy Price said Friday. The suspect, he said, is “basically telling the whole circle of friends not to cooperate, not to speak to police.”

The pickup owner’s name has not been released.

Price said anybody with information who doesn’t come forward could be “wrapping themselves up into criminal charges, as well.”

Those aiding in the concealment or destruction of evidence related to the crime also could be arrested, police said.

“I don’t think everybody’s thinking clearly,” Price said. “People are letting allegiance override what should be a common sense and moral thing to do.”

Price said police have received information that there were multiple people in the pickup but have not confirmed the information.

The woman connected to the suspect said that the people in the vehicle at the time of the crash have likely talked to their friends or family and perhaps other people about what happened Sunday night. The families of Mosh and Gardinant, she said, deserve closure.

“Please, somebody come forward and say something,” she said.

The public is invited to a memorial held for both women at 10 a.m. Saturday at Word of Grace Bible Church in Battle Ground.