INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. —Flowers, candles and crosses made up a memorial on the side of Shelby Street Monday afternoon, marking a life taken too soon and loved ones left looking for answers.
Police said Friday at Shelby St. and Standish Ave. not far from the University of Indianapolis, a driver struck a bicyclist and fled the scene. They later found the vehicle, believed to be a silver SUV, abandoned. Relatives identified the bicyclist at Annastaisha Leslie Sandlin, 50.
"She was just amazing, fun loving type of person that would do anything, she was very, very helpful," her brother, Joe Sandlin, said. "She was different growing up, something that was always different about her until she came out to be transgender and I've never seen her more happier than ever and she was just starting to get her life back on track."
Her family believes she was walking her bike home from a friends after it had gotten a flat tire.
"I'm kind of numb now. I've buried a lot of brothers and sisters overseas and it's really, really hard when it's your actual brother or your actual sister that you grew up with all your life," Sandlin, a veteran, said.
Driver Scott Harris, who says he is a bike messenger himself and served in the National Guard, said he saw it unfold
"Just the fact that he wasn't stopping and you know just my only thought was just to follow him as long as I could just to get as much information because this guy's not gonna turn around, go back, take responsibility for what happened," Harris said.
Harris said when he saw who he believes to be the driver flee, he followed. He captured the pursuit on camera until it became a foot chase. Harris said he cornered the man, but he got away when he climbed over a barbed wire fence.
"Also makes it even harder because you hear about how this person that was a part of a lot of people's lives and impacted them," Harris said.
"It's people like that that step up and make a difference, I mean we need more people like that," Sandlin said.
He describes his sister as someone who named herself after a daughter she lost shortly after birth, who loved her multiple dogs, was active in the LGBT community and always made them smile.
His plea now is for the driver to come forward.
"They don't know how traumatic that is, they don't know how many people that he's affected because of this incident. So you know my plea was please turn yourself in," Sandlin said.
If you saw anything, please call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-8477.
A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help with burial expenses.