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Family still fights for closure 18 years after Father's Day crash kills son, paralyzes mother

This Father's Day weekend marks 18 years since a terrible car crash claimed the life of a teenager from Cherokee Coun...

Posted: Jun 16, 2018 5:04 AM
Updated: Jun 16, 2018 5:04 AM

This Father's Day weekend marks 18 years since a terrible car crash claimed the life of a teenager from Cherokee County and investigators say the man who hit the family's car was in this country illegally.

While he's been indicted on vehicular homicide charges, police say they're physically unable to arrest him even though they think they know where he is.

The Inman family has been pleading for closure for 18 years. They've been met with legal loopholes that has kept the man who killed their son from ever facing a judge. Now, with a new president in office, they feel more confident than ever that they can finally get some of the answers they've waited so long to hear.

Kathy Inman, her husband Billy and their son Dustin were traveling to Ellijay on June 18, 2000 in their new vehicle when their lives changed dramatically. They were hit from behind while waiting at a red light on Highway 575. Dustin was killed instantly. Kathy is now confined to a wheelchair and depends on her husband Billy for everything.

"It's a struggle, every day," says Kathy.

"Do you ever step back and say, it's not fair?" asked CBS46's Adam Harding.

"Yes. All the time," answered Kathy.

Billy Inman was driving that day. He spent the next two weeks in the hospital. Kathy was in a coma for more than a month. Billy and Kathy were too injured to even attend Dustin's funeral.

"I lost my best friend, my little buddy. It's something I want no one else to have to go through," says Billy. "I look at it. He would've been a grown man by now. To me, he'll always be a 16 year-old kid."

Police say the man who hit them from behind was Gonzalo Gonzalez-Harrell. He was in the country illegally and investigators talked to him at the scene of the accident. But on the way to the hospital, he disappeared.

Police believe he's in Mexico and the FBI has been working to bring him back to the U.S. Documents obtained by CBS46 show he was indicted on vehicular homicide charges.

It's a decision that has to do with the Department of Justice and apparently there are some loopholes in the law. Officials say the U.S. and Mexico look at the crimes differently and if there wasn't intent to the commit the crime, the U.S. can't extradite him back to Atlanta to face a judge.

Meanwhile, the Inman's can not get the closure they deserve.

"As you can imagine, it's very frustrating to us not being able to bring him back here," Kathy tells CBS46 News. "Our son's been gone 18 years and this man has been free for 18 years. He's seen his kids grow up. He gets to hug his kids. I have to go the cemetery to see mine."

The family says they have spoken with President Trump about their case. The question though, what will change almost two decades later? That's something the family is left asking every single day.

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