Clayton Jones says he’s imagined the night of Aug. 30 over and over in his mind. That’s when his only daughter Celeste was killed in a hit-and-run as she was trying to cross Sheppard Avenue at Abbotsfield Gate on the way to a bus stop.
Police have searched for a suspect since her death but have come up empty-handed. They have now taken the unusual step of filming a Crime Stoppers reenactment video in the hope that it will help in the investigation.
Jones said it’s been extremely difficult to watch the video being shot, using a real actor and a car similar to the one that police say hit his daughter before taking off.
“I don’t know if I can look at it but I want to be here to ensure it’s done because I think it can help our cause and make this person come forward and get some more information,” Jones said as he stood on the side of Sheppard Avenue looking away from the video production.
Celeste Jones, a 34-year-old Scarborough woman who was on her way to work at the LCBO, was headed to the bus stop around 10:20 p.m. that night when she was struck and killed by a car. The driver left her there to die.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said they now believe the suspect was driving a 2007 to 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer with fog lights that would have front-end damage and a broken windshield.
They’ve released grainy surveillance video of the suspect car but so far have not been able to identify the vehicle or the driver.
“We need the public’s help. We are pulling out all the stops because we know this is a solvable crime,” said Sgt. Brett Moore.
“We’re missing a piece of evidence. Somebody knows something and just hasn’t come forward yet to help our investigators solve this particular fatal crash.”
Videographer Martin Blake, who is producing the video, says he believes the last reenactment video was released in January 2017.
Blake says police frequently put surveillance video, news conferences and suspect photos onto the Toronto police website or onto its YouTube channel, but Moore says it has been years since traffic services did a Crime Stoppers reenactment featuring a fatal crash, partly because of the effort it takes to organize such a production.
Moore says Celeste’s case was chosen for a number of reasons in an effort to humanize the victim.
“Celeste’s family has been tremendously involved right from the beginning and they are very interested in connecting with the person responsible for this,” he said.
“As a result, we’ve reached out to Crime Stoppers because we know the more … we can get people talking about this crime, the better.”
Clayton Jones says he’s hopeful that those who know something about his daughter’s death will call police or Crime Stoppers.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of coming forward. Admitting guilt is probably the easiest thing to do, to make you feel better,” Jones said.
He said he also looks forward to speaking with the driver and wants them to know that Celeste was very special to him and his wife.
“When she came along, we named her Celeste Alana and it simply meant Heavenly Rose,” Jones said. “But what this person has done is taken our rose from us, has devastated our lives, left us feeling unsure of the future, and it hurts.”
The reenactment video is slated to be released in November.