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Mother fights for change after daughter killed in Modesto hit and run

The victim leaves behind a toddler, adopted by her grandparents.

MODESTO, Calif. — A mother is speaking out after she says her daughter was killed in a Modesto hit and run Wednesday morning while she was sleeping on the sidewalk. The family identified the victim as 38-year-old Madeline Delaney, called Maddie by loved ones.

Delaney's mother, Jennifer Williams, is still trying to process this loss, but she is channeling her grief toward fighting for better resources for folks battling mental illnesses and living on the streets. 

Delaney was found dead on the sidewalk of a parking area for semi-trucks near Yosemite Avenue in Modesto Wednesday morning, according to Modesto police. She is believed to have been killed in a hit and run while she slept on the sidewalk.

“It’s been really hard just to wrap my head around it, that she’s not here anymore,” said Williams. “They did an autopsy and they determined that her death was caused by a hit-and-run with an injury to the head and we’ve put in calls to the police and we haven’t gotten any response back.”

The family searching for answers about how something like this could happen.

“It seems like society has forgotten about our homeless and our disabled people,” said Williams. ”I’m just really angry that I haven’t been able to get her help and that it ended this way... I had hoped that she would finally get the medicine and the treatment she needed."

Williams says her daughter was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 14. She said their family tried to get her daughter psychiatric help over the years and at times, was told to get assistance from police, but she found not many long-term solutions were available and Delaney fell into homelessness.

“Somewhere there was a disconnect along the way. The system is broken and I’m so angry about it," said Williams.

She hopes her daughter’s story doesn’t end here and is advocating for more public health funding and resources to help those dealing with serious mental illnesses.

Delaney leaves behind a daughter, named Angelica, who is nearly three-years-old and was adopted by her grandparents.

“I feel so lucky to have her in my life. She likes to be the center of attention, just like Maddie used to be," said Williams.

She clings to the good memories from Maddie’s childhood and the reminders she sees in Angelica.

The Modesto Police Department did not yet respond to request for comments. 

Maddie’s mother said she’s hoping any surveillance video from nearby businesses might be able to shed some light on how this could have happened and who’s responsible. 

Those with any information about what happened are encouraged to contact Modesto Police at 209-342-9152.

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