Parents of hit & run victim return to New Orleans for prayer vigil

Published: Apr. 18, 2016 at 2:21 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2016 at 8:57 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The parents of the man who was hit and killed in the French Quarter, then dragged to the West Bank, hold a prayer vigil in his honor. Caren and Mark Woodruff also plead with the public for help in identifying Josh Woodruff's killer.

Wearing Josh Woodruff's favorite color of orange, his parents gathered with supporters Sunday night in Jackson Square. Together, they prayed, begging for Josh's killer to be found.

"We pray Lord for the best of New Orleans to come forward and to bring closure to this case. Father we ask that the FBI would be able to identify the car as they enhance the video," Mark Woodruff prayed.

Caren Woodruff adds, "Somebody dragged our child for six miles, I mean the thought of it is hideous."

Early New Year's Day the 28-year-old and two friends were hailing an Uber near Decatur and Dumaine when police say a black sedan hit Woodruff, dragging him through the quarter, and eventually to the West Bank.

Caren Woodruff says, "To get over losing a child is, I don't even know how you do that, I honestly don't, but this is, this part of this is so weighing us down."

The Woodruffs live in Nebraska. They've flown to New Orleans many times since Josh's death, for Crimestoppers news conferences to announce new reward money in the case, and for events like this, thanking the locals who've dedicated countless hours to their case. Gonzales police officer Duane Carpenter is one of those people.

"We walked probably half of the French Quarter like 15 miles, we handed out 2,500 flyers. We actually walked the route the suspect's vehicle allegedly took and met with all the homeowners, made sure they turned over video to police," Carpenter said.

The couple says they're overwhelmed by the support.

"Thank you for not forgetting him and thank you for being with us as we try to find who is responsible for this," Caren Woodruff told the group Sunday night.

They're pleading with the driver to turn themselves in, explaining, they don't want retaliation.

"Nobody needs forgiveness more than the perpetrator. I can't imagine the burden he is carrying," Mark Woodruff said.

The family just wants closure and peace.

The reward for information in this case is up to $15,000. The Woodruff's say the NOPD is still looking at cars, and following leads in the case, but they need the public's help.

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