San Diego

Family Feeds Community in Honor of ‘Tamale Lady' Killed in Hit-and-Run

Despite pouring rain, there was an outpouring of community support Wednesday night for hit-and-run victim Maria Estrada who was known city-wide for her cooking, especially her tamales.

Family and friends came together pouring piping hot cups of champurrado and pozole outside her Southcrest apartment. Others served up the last of her tasty tamales.

“Best tamales, best champurrado, which by the way are the best in this area of town,” said friend Anna Alvarado.

Estrada was known as the “Tamale Lady.” In fact, that's how she and Anna Alvarado met 20 years ago.

Estrada would set up elaborate spreads outside parks across the city, selling tamales and other authentic cuisine.

“She was the best lady, always with a smile and working hard for her kids and family," Alvarado said.

The 52-year-old grandmother was the victim of a hit-and-run the morning of November 15. Family says she was walking down the sidewalk on Cesar Chavez Parkway on her way to the doctor. Police say that’s when a white Ford F-150 pick-up, turning the corner at Kearny Avenue, hit her and took off.

Family members made a difficult decision early Monday morning.

“It was heartbreaking. Hard. I was there when they took her off life support. It broke my heart for her kids," said friend and neighbor Angelina McGuire.

Estrada’s daughter Brianda Ramos held a family picture while reflecting on her mother’s life. She couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from people who showed up to show their love for her mother and family.

She was happy to see her mom’s spirit of feeding the community living on, especially seeing people enjoy the last of the tamales her mother cooked.

Her hope now is that police catch the driver responsible for her mother's death.

“To the person who did this, turn himself in. You took away someone. My mom, a grandma, a friend, a really loving person who was helpful for the community."

Police are still searching for the hit-and-run driver and released the following image of the car the suspect was driving.

Crime Stoppers

The suspects car can be described as a 1997 to 2004 white Ford F-150 pick-up truck with stock wheels, a tinted back window, and white California sticker.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

The family has started a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.

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