Mother of Long Beach toddler killed by hit-and-run driver pleads for …

A Long Beach mother asked for anyone’s help finding a hit-and-run driver that killed her 3-year-old daughter and husband.[1] 

“My 17-year-old son and I witnessed the death of our loved ones and how Octavio Montano Islas got out of the truck and ran away, leaving us with unimaginable pain,” mother Esnelia Palacios said in Spanish.

According to the Long Beach Police Department, Octavio Montano Islas was behind the wheel of the 2014 Dodge Ram pickup truck which plowed through the Palacios’ apartment on the night of March 1, 2022. Samantha and her father were sleeping at the time of the crash. 

“My little daughter was only 3 years old and was sleeping in the place where it was supposed to be the safest for her,” said Esnelia.

Islas ran away from the crash, leaving the pickup truck inside the family’s apartment. Following the crash, family members implored Islas to turn himself in but to no avail. After struggling to track down Islas, the Long Beach City Council approved a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case. 

“Nothing is going to return our loved ones, but Octavio Montano Islas has to pay for what he did,” said Esnelia. “I ask you to please help us do justice.”

Octavio Montano Islas is wanted for the deaths of Jose Palacios and his 3-year-old daughter. (Credit: CBSLA)

Esnelia delivered these messages during a newly released video from the police department. In the same video, Long Beach Police Chief Wally Hebeish expressed his sorrow for Esnelia’s loss. He implored Islas to surrender but guaranteed that if he didn’t, his officers will not stop looking for him. 

“To the suspect that took the lives of Jose and Samantha, know this our officers will not be dissuaded by the passage of time,” Hebeish said. “We will continue our investigation until we find and arrest you. You will be held accountable for the death of Jose and Samantha — and you be held responsible for the subsequent pain you’ve caused by failing to turn yourself in.

Islas is described as a 25-year-old man with black hair and tattoos on his right forearm. He stands at about 5-foot-8-inches and weighs about 160 pounds. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (562) 570-7355. Those wishing to stay anonymous can contact 1-800-222-TIPS or submit their tips at the CrimeStoppers website.[2]

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  1. ^ 3-year-old daughter and husband. (
  2. ^ CrimeStoppers website. (

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