On March 16, Shirra Nicole Branum was killed in a head-on collision in Washington County, Tennessee, and the man who police say killed her, was not only drinking and driving, but he fled the state after being discharged from a local hospital. A manhunt is still in place for the suspect, and police are asking the public to be on the lookout.
The suspect, Alan Jacob Mogollon-Anaya, also known as Alan Mogollon, was driving a 2002 Ford F-150 with his three young children, ages 3, 5 and 6, riding as passengers, when he crashed head-on into Branum’s 2001 Nissan Xterra. The crash occured at the 600 block of Conklin Road in Jonesborough.
Branum, 37, died from the impact and her son, 9, who was riding as a passenger in her car, suffered serious injuries. The victim’s mother, Cindy Scalf, spoke exclusively with Crime Online and said her daughter was able to speak to her little boy before she passed away.
“My grandson told me when the accident happened his mom kept praying for the Lord to be with them and be with her baby boy. She was apologizing to him and he told her it wasn’t her fault and that he still needed her (he could tell she was dying).”
Anaya was injured taken to a local hospital where his blood alcohol level registered at .20, over twice the legal limit. It took a few weeks to get his blood alcohol test back, and in the meantime, Anaya fled the state after being discharged from the hospital. His children, who were all injured during the crash, were in ICU when he disappeared.
Major development in vehicular homicide crash. WCSO needs your help tracking down Alan Jacob Mogollon-Anaya. 4th DUI https://t.co/dXR88XEznx
— Nate Morabito (@WJHL_Nate) April 10, 2017
According to Lieutenant Doug Gregg with the Washington County, TN, Sheriff’s Office, authorities didn’t rush to file charges on Anaya because they were trying to gather evidence to tack on a murder charge. The waiting period, however, was enough time or Anaya to go into hiding.
“If we rush and file a charge we don’t have everything we need to charge, we can’t go back and add charges.”
This is something that Scalf doesn’t understand. She said she’s never heard of police not being able to charge a suspect with additional charges if evidence becomes available at a later date.
“They said they couldn’t charge him with the lesser charges and then add homicide after the blood alcohol level test come back. He killed our daughter whether he was drunk or not. I admit I have never studied the law but I know charges can be added or changed after initial charges are placed, even if it has to be taken to the grand jury.”
Randy and Shirra Branum with Harper Ratliff at Bristol Caverns.
Anaya, who has had four prior DUI arrests, is not a legal citizen of the U.S. He had work visa, but when it expired, he was detained by ICE and later let go. Johnson City Press reports that Anaya has never lived in the country legally.
The suspect allegedly talked his family into telling authorities that he moved back to Mexico, but police aren’t buying the story. They feel he is still in the U.S., likely hiding out with other relatives in a different state. He has ties to Louisiana but has yet to turn up there.
“We still have information leading us to believe that he’s in the United States. We are going to turn over ever rock that we can until we get him in custody,” Gregg said.
The victim’s family offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the capture of Anaya. Anyone with any information should contact the Washington County, TN Sheriff’s Office at 423- 788-1414 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and Border Patrol are currently assisting in the investigation.
[Feature Photo: Family Handout/Police Handout]