Daughter remembers mother killed in Knoxville hit-and-run

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A young mother is spending her first Mother’s Day without her own mom. And now, the TBI is ramping up its efforts to find the man accused of taking her life. 

Debbie Burgess died in a hit-and-run crash last month. It happened on Pleasant Ridge Road in Knoxville. Debbie was 52. 

The suspect is Juan Francisco. This week, the TBI added him to its Top Ten Most Wanted List. He’s wanted on charges of Vehicular Homicide and leaving the scene of an accident.

Hardworking, positive, incredibly loving

Debbie’s daughter, Brittany, has been living without her mom for a little more than a month now. 

She’s remembering her as hardworking, positive and incredibly loving.

“She would pretty much give the shirt off her back to anybody,” Brittany said.

Brittany says she feels like a piece of her is missing – one that she’ll never get back. 

“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions, to be honest with you,” she said.

The TBI just added the suspect to its Top Ten Most Wanted List. 

Begging for Justice

Brittany is begging for justice and closure. 

“I hope somebody does turn him in. I’m not a harsh person so I’m not going to sit here and say harsh things about him, but he took my mom from me, so I hope he does pay for what he did.”

In the meantime, she’s taking it one day at a time and holding on to the treasured moments with her mom. 

Have info? Call crime information line

“I mean if I’m half the woman that she was, I would be doing great,” Brittany said.

Police say Juan Francisco was driving a 1998 Dodge pickup when he struck and killed Debbie Burgess. 

If you know him or know where he might be, call KPD’s crime information line. That number: 865-215-7212.

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