Barbara Yarborough decided to conduct her own investigation after leads turned cold in the January 2011 hit-and-run crash that killed her brother Frank. NBC 7's Tony Shin has this exclusive report.
Barbara Yarborough wouldn't stop until she found the person who ran over and killed her 41-year-old brother.
When the case reached a dead end, the Santee woman took over and hired her own investigators to give her family closure.
Every day Yarborough goes into her garage, she sees a grim reminder of the worst moment in her life. It’s the broken and banged up motorcycle that her older brother Frank Yarborough was riding when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
“This was the last thing my brother touched before his life was taken from him,” Yarborough said in an exclusive interview.
The motorcycle has been a symbol of her heart and determination to find the man who killed Frank.
The Riverside County man was a father of two boys when he died on January 7, 2011. He was driving home to Thousand Palms on Varner Road when a tractor trailer hung a U-turn and ran him over.
“I still mourn every day,” Yarborough said.
“I cry going to sleep, I cry waking up," she said. "It’s hard to heal when the wounds stay fresh.”
Yarborough says two witnesses pointed out two different tractor trailers as possible suspect vehicles. But she says investigators focused their attention only on one because that witness seemed more credible.
Months went by and the investigation stalled. Yarborough decided to conduct her own investigation.
“I just knew I had to get the motorcycle,” she said.
Yarborough bought her brother’s motorcycle from a salvage yard and hired two former San Diego Police officers to investigate Frank’s hit and run.
Larry Ingraham and Donovan Jacobs interviewed the other witness who claimed to see a different tractor trailer hit Frank.
“Our effort in the case was to refocus on what that one witness was saying who identified the driver of a Ralph's truck for being responsible for the accident,” Jacobs said.
On the night of the crash, CHP investigators interviewed 39-year-old Dixon Russell Dixon.
He was Ralph's truck driver who was eating inside his tractor trailer near the crime scene.
“Police questioned him, to see if he knew anything he said, 'No, I was in Del Taco getting lunch,' so they let him go,” Barbara said.
But Yarborough says her private investigators found compelling evidence implicating Dixon.
They can't reveal that evidence because it's now part of the criminal case.
On January 9, exactly two years and two days since her brother's death, CHP investigators arrested Dixon for felony hit and run at his San Bernardino County home.
“How could he run over my brother and see his dead body on the road and not take responsibility for what he’s done,” Yarborough said.
Yarborough's private investigator Donovan Jacobs is also representing family members in a civil lawsuit against Ralphs.
NBC 7 called the company's public relations representative for comment, but the call has not been returned.
Dixon posted a $50,000 bond. His next court appearance has been set for March.