Unsolved: The Hit and Run Murder of Joshua Woodruff
[New Orleans, Louisiana]
It was New Years Eve of 2016 when Joshua Woodruff (28) took his first-ever trip to New Orleans, Louisiana to visit some friends. He was originally from Omaha, Nebraska.
Around 3am, Joshua was walking near the intersection of Dumaine and Decatur. He was with two other friends and was responsible for flagging down the uber. In the midst of his fun night with friends, he stopped to text his sister Heather and tell her that he loved her. When he thought he spotted the vehicle, he ran ahead of the group. Then someone driving a dark-colored four-door Sedan with a silver window trim, and specific tail light pattern hit him.
The car pulled his body under where he was dragged him for six miles, through the French Quarter, over the bridge to the West Bank, and eventually dislodged by the Charles DeGaulle exit. Some sources state that the car purposely was zigzagging on the street to dislodge his body.
The phone from which Woodruff punched out his last text to his siblings and from which he’d ordered an Uber ride remained on the ground in the intersection where he was struck. A bystander picked it up and called a friend with whom Woodruff celebrated in the New Year. The friend contacted Woodruff’s older brother, Benjamin Woodruff, and the family started piecing together what happened.
Police said it was likely the driver knew he or she had struck a person. “I would say it is almost impossible to not know that you hit a grown human being and travel 6 miles with that human being either on or under that car,” said Michael Harrison, the department’s superintendent.
Another driver noticed Joshua’s mangled, dismembered body a few minutes later and called the police. The official cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
A suspect has never been apprehended. All police have to go on is grainy surveillance footage that briefly caught the car driving down the street after hitting and dragging Joshua. A composite sketch was released of a person of interest. He is described as a black man between 18 to 24 years old, short with braids and a green wing tattoo on the left side of his neck.
Joshua’s family is heartbroken as no one has been held accountable. New Orleans’ Crimestoppers upped the reward to 50,000 dollars for information leading to the arrest of Joshua’s killer.
“I’m still looking for the call that says we are done”, said his mother.
Crimestoppers can be reached at (504) 822–1111. Tipsters do not have to identify themselves to be eligible for the reward.