‘The world lost a star': Ella Adler's family speaks out as investigation into hit-and-run continues

by 24USATVMay 15, 2024, 7 a.m. 21
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As a "vessel of interest" in the case of a deadly hit-and-run in Biscayne Bay is in the custody of investigators, the family of Ella Riley Adler released a statement Tuesday night about the tragedy.

"The world lost a star this weekend," the statement said. "Ella was beautiful and shined brightly. In her 15 years, she gave us more light than we could have ever dreamed. While we cope with this unspeakable tragedy, we ask the public to give us our privacy as we mourn. We also wish to extend our gratitude to law enforcement for their hard work and commitment to helping bring some closure to this horrific loss."

An attorney representing the Adler family confirmed to NBC6 that the victim’s parents were visited by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

“We are honored that the First Lady paid a shiva call to our family during this time of immense pain. We are touched by their support and love and we are proud to call the President and First Lady our friends for over 40 years,” the Adler family said in an additional statement.

Community support for the Adler family has been strong, with many paying tribute to Ella’s talents on stage and her devotion to her Jewish faith.

Melissa White, the mother of another child who was on the boat from which Adler was waterskiing, spoke out during a Tuesday night meeting in the Village of Key Biscayne.

“I'm here to say thank you for being a community and supporting our family this weekend,” she said. “… For those girls that had to witness it, my hope is that they go forward and they continue to make Ella's memory a blessing.”

A boat matching the description of what investigators are looking for was in the custody of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), authorities said Tuesday. Investigators said the boat’s owner is cooperating with the investigation.

The boat was seen being towed away for analysis, in what may become a significant break in the investigation of the incident that occurred near Nixon Beach, the day before Mother's Day.

FWC Officer George Reynaud emphasized the ongoing effort to solve the case.

"FWC and our partner law enforcement agencies will not stop until we have all the answers and the case is solved," Reynaud said.

The seizure of the boat followed leads provided by eyewitnesses, according to FWC.

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