A mother’s happy return from Afghanistan this week was quickly shattered by news that her 27-year-old daughter was killed by a suspected hit-and-run crash early Saturday morning in Ocean Beach.
Military veteran Tammy Wilson said she learned her daughter Amber Schei had been found dead four days after Wilson returned from working overseas for two years as a counter narcotics contractor.
Now, instead of cheerful reunion, Wilson is mourning the “beautiful angel” she called “Amblers.”
“Fun-loving, carefree, just loved life,” Wilson said of Schei. “She was very smart.”
Wilson told NBC 7 Schei moved out to San Diego to take computer engineering classes at ITT Technical Institute, seeking her associate’s degree.
She also moved in hopes of seeing more of her 10-year-old daughter, who lives with her father.
But Schei recently dropped out of school and was living in a sort of group home, according to Wilson.
"She was in a -- I wouldn't call it a half-way house -- but one of those homes that they have for... she was diagnosed with a disorder where she had assistance, where they gave her meds and assistance through the state," said Wilson.
But the mother said her daughter sounded fine during their last conversation, the day before Wilson’s return to the U.S.
"She said 'Mom, I just need a little bit of money, but I'm doing great. I'm skateboarding all the time, going to a skateboard park,’” Wilson said, “and she just was living life. She was enjoying herself.”
Wilson was even urging Schei to go back to school.
However, Wilson is now making some very different plans, organizing services for her daughter in California, Panama City Beach and Virginia Beach.
A local ceremony is set for Friday at 11 a.m. at Santee Lakes.
Wilson is currently staying in Virginia Beach with her sister and plans to receive Schei’s ashes there.
She’ll then travel to Panama City Beach “where Amber was truly at peace and enjoyed life, living with me and her brother, Christopher, before he went to the Navy,” Wilson said. There, they will spread her ashes.
But even when ceremonies in her honor have ended, the investigation into Schei’s death will continue.
Her body was discovered early Saturday morning in the brush off the side of Nimitz Boulevard.
San Diego Police Sgt. Art Doherty said her injuries were consistent with being struck by a vehicle, so they believe she was fatally wounded by a hit-and-run driver.
Investigators gathered plastic car parts from the scene to try to determine what kind of vehicle may have hit Schei.
However, the investigation is hindered by additional debris in the area, as well as no independent witnesses in the case.
Doherty said if it was a hit-and-run, the suspect’s vehicle likely has significant damage to its front.
If you have information about the suspected hit-and-run, call the SDPD.