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Wait for DNA analysis holding up arrest in deadly hit-and-run, Delray Beach police say

Romeo Della Valle, 71, struck by car while walking across street
Posted at 11:41 PM, Dec 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-11 00:21:28-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The Delray Beach Police Department said it is waiting for the analysis of DNA evidence to advance a fatal hit-and-run case one month ago.

Romeo Della Valle, 71, was killed after police said a car hit him while he was walking across the street with enough force to push his body to the sidewalk. A witness, according to the crash report, said the sedan turned its lights off after it hit Della Valle and then drove away.

"That is just disgusting and despicable," Sarah Della Valle, Romeo's daughter, said. "It just shows obvious callousness and intent to flee and conceal their crimes. Everything I learned about this case and what this person did just makes it worse and worse. It's impossible to feel bad for this person."

Romeo Dellavalle of Delray Beach.jpg 2.jpg
Romeo Dellavalle of Delray Beach.jpg 2.jpg

Police said the car involved in the crash was found on November 13, which is two days after the crash. But it hasn't been received as of the one-month anniversary of the crash Monday. Ted White, a spokesman for the department, said the DNA analysis could take weeks or months.

Sarah Della Valle said the lack of an arrest is "unbelievable" and "frustrating."

"I just don't think it's fair that the person who killed my father was able to spend Thanksgiving with their family," she said. "I wasn't able to spend Thanksgiving with my dad. And they're just out there living every day. I'm assuming they think everything is fine."

Sarah Della Valle is the daughter of Romeo Della Valle, who died in a hit-and-run crash one month ago. Dec. 10, 2023
Sarah Della Valle is the daughter of Romeo Della Valle, who died in a hit-and-run crash one month ago.

She said she still has faith in the police to make an arrest, but she's unsure what justice will feel like for her family.

"He's just never going to be in my life ever again," Sarah Della Valle said. "And I don't think that's fair. I don't think that's justice."

Remulus Della Valle, who said he is Romeo's identical twin brother, said he enjoyed writing poems and painting. He described him as smart, thoughtful and easygoing.

"It's hard to recover from such a loss," Remulus said. "..It's something unexpected. It's hard to get over."

Police said the crash happened on Southwest 10th Avenue. The location is close to a bus stop and an apartment complex, which family members said is where Romeo lived.

Police said the driver drove away heading southbound toward Linton Boulevard.

Mohammad Karim, who has co-owned ABC Mini Mart in Delray Beach for 23 years, said Romeo Della Valle would come in with a smile and conversation. He was upset when he found out he passed away.

"When I heard this morning, one of my customers told me, I could not believe it and I cried," Karim said at the time. "Because I'll be missing him for a long time."

Shiwanda Yorker, who lives in Della Valle's neighborhood, described him as "awesome." She said he was well-liked and known as the "air conditioner man," who laughed often during conversation.

Shiwanda Yorker lives in Romeo Della Valle's neighborhood in Delray Beach. Dec. 10, 2023
Shiwanda Yorker lives in Romeo Della Valle's neighborhood in Delray Beach.

"He's an awesome man, awesome man," Yorker said. "He's just running from work ... take care of his wife. That's all he wants to do."

Sarah Della Valle said her dad wasn't married.

Editor's Note: After publication, a family member reached out to tell WPTV that Romeo wasn't married when he died.