WILKES COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A tough conversation is happening in Wilkes County.
Two very young children learned one of their playmates is gone.
Two-year-old Atticus Stamey died in a hit and run crash after wandering out in the road in front of his home in Hays.
“I’ve told her he’s went to heaven with PawPaw,” said Stamey’ aunt, Melissa Brooks.
His family is still trying to process what happened after they said their final goodbyes to the little boy.
“Very outgoing. Just constantly energetic,” Brooks said. “The most enjoyable little boy you ever played with.”
That energetic boy walked down the long gravel driveway out of his neighborhood Thursday night and ended up on Traphill Road near Jettie Joines Avenue.
He was found along the roadside.
“His smiles. His curly hair,” said Brooks through tears.
Balloons, flowers, a cross and a teddy bear now mark the spot near where a driver hit the child and took off.
Stamey’s mother told WGHP off-camera that her son was in bed and was believed to be sleeping when his dad stepped out to go to a neighbor’s house around 8:30 p.m., leaving the toddler and his siblings home alone briefly.
“Unfortunately, and tragically, it was enough time for the child to leave the residence and make his way down to the roadway,” added Master Trooper Jeffrey Swagger, with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
Stamey had just learned how to unlock doors.
He wandered down the gravel driveway and onto the winding road.
“The child was found by family members who realized the child had left the residence and had begun searching the area,” Swagger said.
“He was very well loved,” Brooks said.
The speed limit on Traphill road is 55 mph.
It’s dark with lots of curves and is a known street for troopers to stop speeders.
“It’s very dangerous. There have been numerous wrecks,” Brooks said. “People are flying. It’s just a very terrible road.”
Brooks’ hopes that her nephew’s death will get people to change their driving habits and appreciate their loved ones.
“People, please slow down and pay attention,” she pleaded. “And make sure you love your little ones because you never know.”
Right now, investigators do not have any good leads in this case or a solid description of the suspect vehicle.
They’re asking anyone with information to call State Highway Patrol to help give the family some closure in solving the case.
“I really loved my baby boy. He was my pride and joy,” added Judt Wagner, Stamey’s grandmother.