Family of deceased Shiprock man seeks information

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

SHIPROCK — David Clah said he is stuck. He said he doesn't know what to do, how to move on. How to bury Ryan Hill, who was struck dead by a vehicle on the road to the family's home last summer.

"We are trying to put this to rest and move on," Clah said about the death of his 21-year-old son. "But it keeps hurting us."

Hill was a Shiprock High School graduate who excelled in sports. He was not very good at math, his father said, but was a decent writer.

His mother, Loretta Hill, said he was good at working with his hands.

"He talked about going back to school to do sports medicine or physical therapy," Loretta Hill said. "If the money was not there, he was going into the service."

Hill ran daily up and down Mesa Farm Road, sometimes wearing a dinosaur-themed hooded sweatshirt hand-sown by his mother.

He worked at the Burger King in Shiprock and was last seen alive on June 22.

FBI public affairs specialist Frank Fisher said in July that friends from work dropped Hill off on Mesa Farm Road near his home on the day in question.

Loretta Hill said her son got off work at about 3 or 4 p.m. and spent time with his friends after that.

"I usually call him to see if he needs a ride, but I didn't," Loretta Hill said.

Hill was found dead with a crushed skull at 9:30 p.m. on the shoulder of Mesa Farm Road, about a mile away from his home.

Clah said the couple's eldest son, Randy, identified the body the next day.

"He called mom at work, and our whole world fell apart," Clah said.

The FBI and Shiprock Police Department are jointly investigating the death, which was ruled an accident by the Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque.

According to an autopsy report, Hill was found face down on the shoulder of a poorly lit paved road wearing headphones.

Hill was known to do push ups intermittently while running, and his injuries were consistent with having been run over while lying down, the report states.

Clah does not believe it was an accident and takes no solace in the fact that his son's death may not have been malicious.

"I never agreed with that word — accident," he said. "There are those words in the English language, and 'accident' is one of them."

Clah said he swerves to avoid hitting dogs in the road, even prairie dogs. But there were no skid marks on the stretch of road where Hill was found.

"To me, it's deliberate," he said. "I don't feel comfortable with it."

And what would Clah say to the man who killed his son?

"I have been thinking about that for a while," he said. "If I will ever have to talk to that person, or persons. I would probably just ask, 'Was he OK?'"

The family of Ryan Hill is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest.

FBI agents continue to investigate the death and are seeking information about a bright red GMC or Chevrolet pickup truck, possibly a 2012 model, seen by a witness shortly before Hill's body was found.

The FBI's tip line can be reached at 505-889-1300.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.