19-year-old Cinthya Garcia-Cisneros, an Oregon resident who killed two young girls in a hit-and-run accident, now faces deportation back to her native Mexico, which she left as a young child.
Garcia-Cisneros was given three years of probation and 250 hours of community service by an Oregon judge on two counts of felony hit-and-run for striking the girls in her car and not coming forth to police.
Garcia-Cisneros drove her boyfriend’s SUV through a leaf pile where two girls were playing, stepsisters Anna Dieter-Eckerdt, 6, and Abigail Robinson, 11. She hit the girls, whom she probably did not see, but did not go to the police or identify herself—in a state of denial and shock, her attorneys said.
Garcia-Cisneros’ boyfriend and younger brother were also in the car. They didn’t immediately realize what had happened, they said. But when they got home, her brother immediately biked back to the scene of the crash and saw Tom Robinson, Abigail’s father and Anna’s stepfather, standing over the girls. One died at the scene and the other at the hospital. He told his sister what happened, but she did not turn herself in. Police found her the next day.
In an emotional trial, Circuit Judge Rick Knapp chose not to sentence Garcia-Cisneros to prison time.
"The grief in this courtroom is palpable," the judge said. "I don't want to add to it."
Susan Dieter-Robinson, Anna’s mother and Abigail’s stepmother, told Garcia-Cisneros through her tears that she forgave her.
“I’m going to choose forgiveness,” Dieter-Robinson said. “Cinthya, I forgive you, I do.”
She said she didn’t want to see Garcia-Cisneros in jail.
“Live a life of honoring my girls,” she said.
“I should have gone back,” Garcia-Cisneros told the grief-stricken parents. “I should have thought about you guys.”
Garcia-Cisneros, who was brought to the United States from Mexico at the age of 4, lives here legally under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But now, her right to remain in the country is under serious threat.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Monday that Garcia-Cisneros is being held at a detention center pending an immigration bond hearing.
"The immigration judge will determine whether or not Ms. Garcia-Cisneros remains in detention for the duration of her immigration case," ICE spokesman Andrew Munoz said in a statement.