'Not guilty' pleas in Forest Grove hit and run case
FOREST GROVE, Ore. - Two young adults arrested after two girls were killed while playing in a leaf pile both appeared in court on Wednesday afternoon and entered "not guilty" pleas.
Police say that Cinthya Garcia Cisneros, 18, was driving an SUV that struck the two girls as they played on Sunday.
Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, 6, was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday night in Forest Grove. 11-year-old Abigail Robinson died later at the hospital.
Police arrested Cisneros and her boyfriend, 18-year-old Mario Echeverria, after getting a tip.
Investigators said Cisneros intentionally drove through the pile of leaves that the girls were playing in. Neither knew the girls were there.
Cisneros at first told police she knew nothing about the incident, according to court documents.
"However, after several minutes of interviewing him, Mario Echeverria admitted that he was a passenger in a vehicle that had crossed over into some leaves on Main Street in Forest Grove and had heard a 'bump,'" Officer Matt Smith wrote in an affidavit about the case.
Cisnero's brother was in the backseat. He later went back to the scene and realized they had actually struck two people. Police said he told his sister and her boyfriend but they didn't come forward to police.
Instead, police said Echeverria took the Nissan Pathfinder to a car wash to get rid of any evidence and "protect" his girlfriend.
Friends and neighbors of Echeverria and Cisneros told us that police towed the SUV away on Monday night. They saw investigators arrest both at the same location on Tuesday night.
"That's the last people I would think for that to happen to," said Miguel Vasquez, who saw the arrests. "It was unexpected for them, I think. They didn't expect that to happen."
Echeverria was charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution.
Cisneros faces two counts of hit and run. Their attorneys entered the "not guilty" pleas on their behalf.
Several family members in the courtroom on Wednesday declined to speak with reporters.
Cisneros was ordered held in jail on an immigration hold called an "ICE hold," although we don't know if that played a role in her being afraid of going to police.