BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A $10,000 reward is being offered for information on the death of 20-year-old college student from Queens.
Police say Stefani Lineva was killed in a hit-and-run crash over the weekend, but the her mother tells CBS2’s Christine Sloan she doesn’t believe that’s how her daughter died.
“I’m deeply convinced by the facts we’ve discovered, not given to us by police, that it’s not a hit-and-run,” Daniela Atanassova-Lineva said. “She was hit somewhere else, thrown out of the car.”
Police believe Stefani Lineva of Middle Village was struck by a car Saturday morning on Vestal Parkway near Binghamton University.
Authorities said she was found lying on the eastbound lane around 2 a.m. Saturday. She was taken to UHS Wilson Medical Center in neighboring Johnson City, where she was pronounced dead. Police said she had suffered severe injuries consistent with being struck by a vehicle.
Her parents said Stefani texted her mother shortly before her death to tell her she was walking home from a party, CBS2 reported.
Her mother went to the scene with a friend who’s a retired cop to investigate. They picked up dirt from the spot her daughter’s body was discovered.
“I took it in my hands, it started to melt down,” said Daniela. “I didn’t even want to wash it off my hands.”
Daniela is convinced her daughter, an honor roll student, would never cross a busy highway after leaving a party to go to her boyfriend’s house.
She claims a friend told police she last saw Stefani just after midnight Saturday outside the door of her boyfriend’s building.
At this time police do not consider her boyfriend a suspect and are continuing to investigate the crime as a hit-and-run.
In a statement released Sunday, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger praised the student’s “spirit, passion and engagement” with everyone she met on campus.
Binghamton University officials said Lineva was a member of the college’s tennis team who was in her first semester at the college after transferring from Adelphi University on Long Island.
Bob Ingersole, her former tennis coach at The West Side Tennis Club, describes Stefani as “very focused and dedicated.”
“She lived life to the fullest,” said her mother. “I will remember her smile, we will celebrate her life.”
A memorial for Stefani will be held at the West Side Tennis Club on Friday.
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