Hit-and-run suspect confesses to victim's sister

February 28, 2012 5:07:21 AM PST
A woman says a 27-year-old Naperville man rang her doorbell, came inside and confessed in the 2008 hit-and-run death of her sister, Melissa Lech.

Melissa Lech, 20, was struck and killed by a car while walking in Joliet on August 6, 2008. On Sunday morning, David McCarthy knocked on door of the home where Lech's sister lives and told her his conscience got the best of him.

"You're sitting across from me, you come to my home, and this was my sister -- and you don't even have the decency to say you're sorry?" Michelle Lech.

Michelle Lech said McCarthy, a stranger, rang her doorbell, insisted he come inside the home, sat down and then calmly told her he was behind the wheel of the car that killed Melissa more than three years ago.

"He sat down across from me, and he just said, 'I was the one who killed Melissa. I ran her over,'" Michelle Lech said.

"Right now what we feel is what we have been feeling all the time-- the anger, and we cannot understand how can somebody kill somebody and leave them?" Maria Lech, Melissa's mother.

McCarthy said he used the Internet to find Melissa's family.

McCarthy left a few minutes after his confession, but Michelle Lech's husband got his license plate number. They called police and McCarthy was arrested at his family's Naperville home hours after he left the Lech family's home.

Detective John Ross of the Joliet Police Department has been on the hit-and-run case since 2008 and made the arrest.

"He was not surprised that we were there to speak with him. And he did appear to be nervous," Det. Ross said.

Bail was set at $1 million for David H. McCarthy IV. He is charged with causing personal injury and leaving the scene of an accident.

Court records show McCarthy's driving record includes a DUI and a guilty plea to reckless driving. He was also arrested in 2009 on domestic battery charges.

"Unfortunately, cases like this aren't easily solved. This individual appears to be an effective conscience and came forward and confessed to his involvement," Commander Brian Benton, Joliet Police Department, said.

McCarthy's father said in a statement that he and his family are "deeply distressed" by the hit-and-run allegations. He also expressed sympathy for the Lech family.

Lech's family said the confession brings little comfort to her family.

"You're just coming for yourself, to clear your conscience, that you feel better. Well, it doesn't make us feel better. You still killed my sister," Michelle Lech said.

McCarthy is due in court on March 19. Police say the investigation continues.