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Jogger Killed by Car Was Student, Waitress

A fingerprint helped authorities identify the woman who died Tuesday as a student and waitress who lived about a mile from where she was struck.

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CARY, N.C. — Cary authorities said late Thursday afternoon they had identified a jogger who was hit and killed by a car Tuesday but whose family did not report her missing for two days.

Maria Soledad Ponce-Perez was not carrying identification when a car struck her near the intersection of Reedy Creek Road and Dynasty Drive in Cary about 4 p.m. Tuesday. She never regained consciousness and died at a local hospital.

Immigration and customs officials matched her fingerprints with records in their database and informed Ponce-Perez's family on Thursday afternoon.

Ponce-Perez, 27, of Sweetspire Court, was studying computer engineering at Wake Tech Community College and worked as a waitress at the Brier Creek Country Club.

"She wanted a career. She wanted to be better for herself and her family," said Lizbeth Mercado, who described her sister-in-law as someone who had her future planned out.

"She loved to go out jogging, loved to spend time with all her family. She loved all of her nieces and nephews," Mercado added.

The accident occurred less than a mile from the apartment Ponce-Perez shared with her sisters and brother.

"The ultimate issue here is her missing and not being reported by the family," Lt. Mark Parker with the Cary Police Department said.

Investigators spent two days trying to identify Ponce-Perez, including releasing a composite sketch Thursday. Police received a number of calls from people who had seen the jogger before, but none from anyone who were able to help identify her.

Family members said they never saw the news reports about the unidentified jogger and never thought to report her missing.

"She used to go out with friends. We were like, 'She's probably with a friend,'" Mercado said. "It wasn't that big for us until we noticed that her car wasn't moving."

Cary police will meet with the district attorney on Friday to decide if it is appropriate to file charges against the driver of the car that struck Ponce-Perez. Police would not say how fast the driver was going, but said she immediately stopped to call for help and was very cooperative with investigators.

Ponce-Perez was running with the flow of traffic, police said, something experienced joggers recommend against because it is difficult to react to vehicles traveling the same direction.


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