NEWS 12 EXCLUSIVE | Suspect in fatal hit-and-run of toddler speaks from jail

Published: Aug. 18, 2018 at 9:35 PM EDT
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Friday, August 24, 2018

(News 12 First at 5 / News 12 at 6 O’Clock / NBC 26 at 7)

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – 25-year-old Dillan Jesse Hapner sits behind bars at the Aiken County Detention Center. He faces charges after hitting and killing a one-year-old girl with his truck, then fleeing the scene.

“I just want to say I’m sorry,” Hapner said when he briefly sat down with News 12 at the jail Friday.

Investigators say it was an accident. Hapner pulled up on the front yard and the toddler got near the car.

"As this happened, the child unfortunately was able to get close enough to the vehicle," explained Lt. Tim Thornton with North Augusta Department Public Safety.

They say if Hapner didn’t leave the scene, he wouldn't have to talk to his family through a video chat in a jumpsuit.

"If Mr. Hapner would've contacted law enforcement immediately, if he would've called 911, exited his vehicle and rendered medical aid the best he could, we wouldn't be having this discussion."

But that didn’t happen, so Hapner’s future is forever changed. He wanted to speak with us to tell his side of the story.

"I'd like to apologize. It was unintentional, and I'm very sorry for everything that happened."

If Hapner is convicted for leaving the scene and not helping, then he faces one to 25 years in jail and a fine between $10,000 and $25,000.

Hapner's cousin, Sara De Azevedo, visited him with us Friday afternoon. She says this is a difficult time for everyone involved.

"It's taken a toll on everybody in our family, everyone involved. I pray and send love to everybody that has been involved in this," Sara said.

Hapner remains behind bars until his next hearing, but he wants the family of one-year-old Rylee Bloodworth to know he's thinking of them.

"I send my condolences out to the family, and I'm really devastated by the accident."

Hapner will have his first hearing November 9th, then a second hearing on November 30th.

Monday, August 20, 2018.

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- A man behind bars, a family burying their baby through tears, Rylee's grandma pleaded in court for justice for the baby girl.

"I feel within all my heart that this person does not deserve bond," she said.

Investigators say Saturday night started out like any other night.

"A normal evening with the mother and the father and the two kids playing in the front yard," said Tim Thornton, NADPS.

Next investigators, Rylee's parents and Hapner all say Hapner pulled up in his car and asked the baby's father to borrow an auxiliary cord.

"There was an exchange of an aux cord that was needed and in the process of getting that aux cord there was just a brief moment of time when the child who was just learning to walk got up under the car."

The incident report says Hapner hit the one-year-old as he was leaving around 8:55 pm then continued to drive away.

"He had two choices to make. Stay put or go. And he left," Thorton said.

Leading to his arrest later in the night and today a bond hearing.

"The court's gonna deny your bond at this time," the Judge said.

If he had stayed investigators say Hapner's case would be different.

Thorton explained, "If Mr. Hapner would've contacted law enforcement immediately if he would've called 911 exited his vehicle and rendered medical aid the best he could, we wouldn't be having this discussion this morning."

The Judge denied Hapner bond based on his prior history.

Hapner does not have a local record but the DA's office says once they receive the paperwork from Monday's bond hearing they will be able to check other states.


NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The suspect in the hit-and-run death of a one-year-old little girl was in court Monday morning.

25-year old Dillan Jesse Hapner has been denied bond in the death of one-year-old Rylee Bloodworth.

Check back with News 12 for the latest in this case.

Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018

News 12 at 11

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Little handprints are now the only thing Jeffrey and Sierra have left of their little girl.

"She was a little diva. She was very sweet. If you asked her for a kiss she would come and try and kiss you," Sierra Daniels, Rylee's mother, said.

Last night, Rylee Bloodworth died after a car hit her and sped away. She had just turned one about a month ago.

"When I pulled to the hospital the EMT actually told me that my daughter didn't make it..." Jeffrey Bloodworth, Rylee's father, said.

Investigators pulled in to Conifer Court and Conifer Drive around 9:00 pm. Rylee's mom said she was leaving the father's apartment.

"My daughter wasn't in the road. She was in the grass right next to the house. Right next to us. We are not bad parents."

He says his little girl was just learning how to walk. She started walking towards her mom on the grass when the neighbor's car got too close.

"He has 26-inch rims. It's a big truck. And she's little. Little. She went near his tire. He basically bumped her once with the front passenger tire."

Investigators say the driver was 25-year old Dillan Jesse Hapner.

"I said stop. My daughter's under your tire, my daughter's right there, right there. Stop."

She says the bump knocked Rylee over, but she was still alive.

"That's all I can think of is that maybe he thought he had already killed her with the first hit, but he didn't."

That's when Hapner allegedly panicked and drove away hitting Rylee again.

"The second time that he zoomed off is what killed her."

Investigators found Hapner's burgundy Chevy Avalanche just a block away at Bojangles. They say he ditched his car and ran away.

Hours later, investigators found him close by on Beverly Circle. Now, the 25-year old faces up to 25 years in prison.

"My daughter was one year old. She could already say dada, mama, get out when she wants to get out the tub or the bed."

And this family faces a lifetime without their little girl.

3:47 p.m.

The Aiken County Coroner has identified the child killed in a hit-and-run accident in North Augusta.

Rylee F. Bloodworth of North Augusta, S.C. was pronounced dead at Augusta University Medical Center. She was transported after being hit near Conifer Court around 9:38 p.m. on Saturday. She died of injuries sustained from being struck by the vehicle. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday in Newberry, S.C.

North Augusta Public Safety officials are also releasing new details about the accident, and suspect charged in the crash.

They said Dillan Jesse Hapner lives in North Augusta, is 25 years old and was driving a burgundy Chevy Avalanche when he allegedly hit Bloodworth.

He's being charged with Duties of a Driver Involved in an Accident Involving Death. NADPS said if convicted, that charge can mean 25 years in prison.

10:30 a.m.

The suspect involved in a fatal Saturday night hit-and-run in North Augusta has been booked into the Aiken County Jail.

Dillan Jesse Hapner is now behind bars in Aiken County. Investigators say Hapner was found on Beverly Circle off of Clay Pit Road thanks to information from the public.

Hapner allegedly was involved in the crash that killed a one-year-old girl in North Augusta late Saturday night. The

Stay with News 12 NBC 26 as this story develops.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


1:25 a.m.

North Augusta police have located the suspect in the hit and run, Dillan Jesse Hapner.

Hapner was found on Beverly Circle off of Clay Pit Road. Investigators say that information from the public led them to that area.

Investigators say Hapner has no direct connection to the one-year-old. He lives next door to the house where the child was hit.

Sunday August 18, 2018

11:55 p.m.

Investigators have identified a suspect in the crash that hit a one-year-old baby girl.

They say they're looking for Dillan Jesse Hapner. He is a white male, and allegedly lives next door to the child. He was last seen wearing a long-sleeved plaid shirt, dark pants, and a baseball cap, walking south on Georgia Ave.

His vehicle has been located in a Bojangles' parking lot.

10:04 p.m.

Lt. Tim Thorton with North Augusta Public Safety confirms to News 12 a 1-year-old child has been hit on Bradleyville Road, near Georgia Avenue.

They said the child has been transported to the hospital with injuries -- we are working to learn the extent of those injuries.

Investigators are looking for a person of interest in the case, and said they have not identified the driver yet.

Stay with News 12 on this developing story.

9:35 p.m.

Aiken County dispatchers tell News 12 a pedestrian has been hit on Georgia Avenue.

They said North Augusta Public Safety is handling the case -- we've reached out to them for more details but have not heard back yet.

We have a crew headed to the scene, we'll keep you updated with any new details.