10-year-old Albuquerque girl dies after stolen SUV crash

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After three weeks of fighting for her life, an Albuquerque 10-year-old girl has died. Penny Pizarro spent those weeks in the hospital following a terrible crash involving a stolen SUV.

The man police say caused the crash, John Bearden Jr., will be facing more charges.

Police say Bearden Jr. was high on meth when he stole a government-owned SUV from the state fairgrounds, then blew through a stop sign just a few blocks away. He crashed into another SUV with 43-year-old David Pizarro and his 10-year-old daughter Penny inside.

The Parnall Law Firm is representing the Pizarro family. A letter from the firm delivered to KOB 4 Tuesday confirms Penny died on Sunday.

KOB 4 also spoke with family friend Jennifer Pagan, who is managing the GoFundMe page for the Pizarros.

Pagan shared the following update to the GoFundMe Tuesday:

“Penny’s MRI results revealed that the trauma sustained by her brain was more severe than we had hoped. Penny fought bravely and with a strength that far surpassed her size and age, but ultimately, Penny’s body and mind could not reconcile the injuries she sustained. With family gathered around her, Penny made her transition to Spirit in the late evening hours of Sunday, April 16th.”

Bearden is currently in the Bernalillo County jail, where he is being held until trial. He was charged with stealing a car, leaving the scene of a crash with serious physical injury, and two counts of great bodily harm by vehicle. His lawyer entered a not guilty plea for him at a hearing last Friday.

On Tuesday, the district attorney’s office told KOB 4 they’re working to amend the charges to include vehicular homicide.

The Parnall Law Firm said they will not comment on any pending civil litigation. The family requested privacy, but said they would like to thank everyone who has contacted, prayed for, or otherwise supported them.

Pagan wrote in the GoFundMe that the family does not want Penny’s life to be defined by this tragedy.

“Instead, we ask that she be remembered as the vibrant source of light she was,” Pagan said.

A funeral for Penny is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Trujillo Family Funeral Home. Those who attend are asked to wear pink in honor of Penny.

To donate to the GoFundMe, click here.