Live from Washington, D.C. Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Angel Mom Michelle Root to the microphone to describe the death of her daughter at the hands of a 19-year-old drunk illegal alien who escaped justice through the American criminal system.
Leahy: We are joined now by Michelle Root. This is a tough story, Michelle, isn’t it?
Root: It is.
Leahy: Tell me where you’re from.
Root: I’m from around Omaha, Nebraska, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Leahy: Council Bluffs, Iowa. The place where they started the Transcontinental Railroad. Right across from Missouri.
Root: Right across from Omaha where Sarah was killed.
Leahy: I’m so sorry for your loss. Tell our listeners your story.
Root: Sarah was 21, had just graduated from Bellevue University, which is in a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska. That night she was out celebrating and she was rear-ended by an illegal alien named Edwin Mahia going 75 miles or 70 plus miles an hour in a 35 miles an hour zone. Drug and alcohol was .241 and he was street racing when he rear-ended her SUV.
Leahy: What year did this happen?
Root: 2016. January 30th is when she graduated with her 4.0 and criminal investigation. She was taken off life support then and that following Wednesday. But we consider her death date January 31st of 2016 because that’s when she was declared brain dead.
Leahy: For a mother to have that experience five and a half years ago, have you ever gotten over it?
Root: No. And you don’t.
Leahy: You never do.
Root: No. And you know, you go from one of the happiest days in your life to the most hardest and unprepared ever. We’re not supposed to bury our children and especially with something that’s so preventable.
Leahy: In this instance, it was an illegal alien driving 70 miles an hour in a 35 mile an hour zone.
Leahy: Rear ended your daughter. Your daughter’s doing nothing.
Root: No, she stopped at a stoplight, which I wish she would have run now.
Leahy: Yeah, of course. And so she stopped at a stoplight. He’s street racing. Got what? Drugs and alcohol?
Root: I don’t know about the drugs, but the alcohol was .241. He was 19 years old.
Leahy: .241? What’s legal there? .08?
Root: Yes. .08.
Leahy: The guy was drunk as a skunk.
Root: I don’t know how he was functioning.
Leahy: What became of this illegal alien?
Root: He was hospitalized because he had a leg injury and he was taken on a Monday to Douglas County jail.
Leahy: That’s Douglas County, which is the county in Omaha.
Root: Yep. And then he posted on that Friday for $5,000 and has never been seen since.
Leahy: So you have no justice?
Root: No. No. And the bad part about it is they didn’t even put an ankle monitor on him when he was released. They told him to come back the next day for drug and alcohol testing and to get the ankle monitor on.
He had a warrant out for his arrest that was issued prior to killing Sarah for a failure to appear. I don’t understand how any of this happened or how he was allowed to even bond out.
Leahy: What sort of justice have you been able to receive?
Leahy: Nothing? Does anybody care?
Root: I used to think so, and I have to take them at their word that they’re still searching. He was on the 10 most wanted list. But now, since the Biden administration has taken over, they’ve taken down the voice office that had all the wanted criminals that were out there. They’ve taken it down.
Leahy: Why did they release him from Douglas County jail?
Root: I have no idea. Douglas County and Omaha Police Department tried their hardest to get ICE to detain him. But under the Obama administration, there were loopholes. So ICE refused to detain him.
Leahy: This was back in January 2016.
Root: ’16, when Obama was still president.
Leahy: And Joe Biden was vice president.
Leahy: That’s sort of the point, isn’t it?
Root: It is because even then, I tried to reach out to the Obama’s and Biden to meet with them, and nothing became of it, as have several other Angel Parents.
Leahy: So President Obama at that time, had no interest in talking to you about the death of your daughter at the hands of an illegal alien?
Leahy: An illegal alien who was arrested, placed in detention, and then released and has not been seen since.
Leahy: How devastating has this been for you to perform?
Root: Very devastating because nothing I do is ever going to bring Sarah back. But she deserves justice. And she has one right now. And I’m not going to allow her death to be in vain.
And this is part of the reason I speak out is so it doesn’t happen to anybody else and try to promote change. We have issues with this, and nobody seems to want to wake up to the issues until it happens to them. And that’s what we’re trying to prevent.
Leahy: Did you communicate your concern to, for instance to Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska?
Root: I did. And actually he and Deb Fisher in Nebraska. And then, of course, my wonderful senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, and Chuck Grassley all got on board right away to try to get a Sarah’s Law passed.
They actually went to ICE to get information. Ben Sasse and Chuck Grassley on Edwin Mahia because ICE wouldn’t give us any information on him.
Leahy: Michelle Root, thank you for what you’re doing. We’re so very sorry for the loss of your daughter five and a half years ago. There’s nothing we can say that we’ll ever bring her back. And we’re so sorry for that.
Root: Thank you.
Leahy: Thank you for being with us today.
Root: Thank you so much.
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