M.E.: Pregnant woman was hit by car before she died

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8-months-pregnant woman dies

UPDATE -- AUG. 26:

According to investigators, the medical examiner determined that Sylvia Russell was hit by a car. However, the ME has not been able to determine if this incident caused her death.


PHOENIX - A soon-to-be-mother was found dead along the side of the road near 39th Avenue and Thomas.

Was she murdered or was she the victim of a hit and run? There are lots of questions that her family wants answered.

The victim, identified as Sylvia Russell, was found lying on the sidewalk. Phoenix police have not said how the woman died, which is making her tragic death more difficult for her family.

It is a mystery that haunts her family. It was 3 a.m. on Saturday morning when a passerby found Russell lying on the sidewalk near 39 th Avenue and Thomas. She was unconscious and had signs of trauma throughout her body. She was 8-months-pregnant and her unborn child died at the hospital.

"They told us it was a hit and run," Denise Breshears, the victim's sister, tells 3TV. "And then the detectives came in and he told us that there mightbe a possibility it's a homicide. They weren't sure."

Russell had not been in contact with her family since Tuesday. Wednesday was her 36th birthday. Her family tells 3TV they figured she was with a friend.

Breshears, admits, "We're not sure if it was a boyfriend or a friend, but what we were told is that he wanted to see her."

Police are waiting for the autopsy results to determine the exact cause of death. Russell's family is convinced someone killed her.

Phoenix police hope to have those results back from the medical examiner soon.