Mother wants answers in daughter’s hit-and-run death

Ottawa County

ZEELAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A grieving mother is hoping to get justice for her daughter, who died in a hit-and-run crash just outside Zeeland over the weekend.

“She loved everybody. She cared for everybody but herself; she took care of everybody else but herself,” Patty Mireles said of her daughter Valerie Batema.

The 36-year-old from Kentwood was killed around 1:30 a.m. Sunday when she was struck in the westbound lanes of the I-196 Business Loop east of 84th Avenue in Zeeland Township.

Mireles has a message for the driver who hit her daughter and left her for dead:

“You have to come forward for our daughter,” she said. “We want justice done for her.”

Investigators say Batema had been dropped off by a friend and was walking to a home. The exact where and why for why she got out of the vehicle she had been riding in isn’t clear.

What is clear, investigators say, is that the driver knew they hit something and should have stopped. Damage to the front end of the car and possibly the windshield would be obvious.

Evidence found at the scene has given investigators at least one clue.

“It’s a vehicle that at least has some silver paint on it. We don’t know if the entire vehicle is silver, but at least a portion of the vehicle is silver,” Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jake Sparks said.

With little physical evidence and no known witnesses, investigators are hoping to hear from someone who notices some unexplained damage to a familiar vehicle.

“Or maybe this driver confided in somebody that they were involved in a crash and are scared or they didn’t know what to do. We’re asking that those people come forward,” Sparks said.

Batema’s family is hoping guilt convinces the driver to come forward.

“You have to have a conscience and you have to come forward. And if anybody knows anything, please come forward,” Mireles said. “Just think if it was your child, your mom, your sister, your aunt, your niece, anybody of your family that this was done to. You would want the same thing.”

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 616.738.4000, Ottawa County Central Dispatch at 800.249.0911 or Silent Observer at 877.88.SILENT (745368).

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