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Police ID suspect in hit-and-run that killed beloved nun

By Jessica Royce

ALMA, Mich. (WNEM/CNN) -- Police have identified the suspect in the hit-and-run crash that killed a beloved nun.

"A citizen's tip has assisted our department in identifying the person responsible for the fatal crash," the Alma Police Department said.

The suspect vehicle has been located and is in a secure location, police said.

Police would not release additional information. As of 1 a.m. on Thursday, Gratiot County Prosecutor Keith Kushion said no one was in custody.

A $500 reward was offered for information leading to the person responsible for the crash.

It happened in the early morning hours of Thursday, Aug. 17 near Michigan and Williams in Alma.

Sister Joseph Marie Ruessmann, 64, with the Religious Sisters of Mercy, was riding her bike back to the convent when she was hit by a vehicle. Police said the vehicle did not stop and the Sister was found by two people passing by.

One of them was Delores Gardner.

“All I said is 'don’t move. Whatever you do, don’t move. Help is on the way, just don’t move.' She was all twisted up. And I just kept saying to her 'don’t move,'” Gardner said.

Ruessman died Thursday evening at the hospital surrounded by her Sisters.

Mother Mary McGreevy with the Sisters of Mercy said Sister Joseph Marie had been with the convent for so long she couldn’t remember a time without her.

“She was tender, she was considerate of people. She was very kind and very patient,” McGreevy said.

Mother Mary said while they are stunned by the loss, the Sisters were happy they could be with Sister Joseph Marie when she died.

Alma Police are asking anyone with information to call Det. Biehl at 989-463-8317 or jbiehl@ci.alma.mi.us.

The only clue left behind at the scene was a piece of a black bug deflector.

“I mean it’s bad enough to happen to any human, but somebody that gives their life to God to be left on the side of the road like trash,” Gardner said.

Funeral services for the Sister were held over the weekend.

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