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On May 3, 2005, 4-year-old Josh Yoder was struck by a hit-and-run driver in the 500 block of South 9th Street in Clinton, Iowa. He died the following day at University Hospitals in Iowa City.
The Clinton Police Department described the car involved in the incident as a medium blue 1990s Chevrolet Corsica. It likely would have sustained front end damage, said officials, who asked for the public’s help in identifying the offending driver and vehicle.
Four-year-old Yoder was the youngest of 13 siblings. Shortly after the hit-and-run, the family moved to Ames, Iowa.
On the 8th anniversary of Josh’s death, his family spoke with WHBF-TV as they looked back on the tragic afternoon when Josh was run down in broad daylight.
“He was this skinny little kid who loved to run,” Josh’s older sister Lydia told WHBF.
Lydia Yoder said her brother spent many sunny afternoons running around in the back yard of their Clinton home, but no one ever imagined May 3rd, 2005, would become such a nightmare.
Josh’s mother, Debbie Yoder, told WHBF her son had gone outside to play with his two brothers that day. While doing a load of laundry, she’d heard screams and looked out the window. She saw Josh, lying unconscious, on the road.
“In our family, we’ve been able to go on with life, and know that Josh is in a good place with the lord,” Debbie Yoder told WHBF reporter Christine Souders. “Not knowing who hit him, we’d like to have some closure, and to the person who did it, to also have some closure in life. I’m sure it’s a burdensome thing to carry.”
Lydia Yoder said her younger brother added a lot of humor to the family, and that though he’s no longer physically present, he still remained a huge part of the family.
“I often wonder what he would be like now here, and what he’d be like as a 12-year-old,” Lydia said.
Several private citizens of Clinton established a reward fund for information in the case, and Clinton County Crime Stopper will pay up to $1,000 for information of value to the ongoing investigation.
Joshua Martin Yoder was born January 26, 2001, the son of Benjamin A. and Deborah K. (Harmonson) Yoder. He died May 4, 2005, in University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City from injuries suffered in a hit-and-run automobile accident May 3.
Services were held Monday, May 9, in the Evangelical Free Church, Clinton, with the Reverend Patrick Nemmers officiating. Burial was in the West Union Cemetery, Wellman. Members of the United States Marine Corps served as pallbearers.
Josh was a member of “Cubbies” at the Evangelical Free Church, enjoyed backyard wiffle ball and was an avid superhero fan.
Survivors included his parents; his brothers and sisters, Sarah K. and husband Jeffrey Owens of Lang Fang, China, Anna Ruth, Esther Joy, Samuel John, Lydia Dawn, Joseph David, Mary Elizabeth, Martha Rose, Rachel Marie, Tabitha Grace, Abraham Benjamin and Isaiah James of Clinton; his grandparents, Ross and Shelba Harmonson of Spencer, Carolyn Yoder of Wellman and Elwood and Norma Yoder of Kalona; two nieces and two nephews, Wendy, Peter, John and Ellen Owens of Lang Fang, China; numerous aunts and uncles, including Martin Yoder and Clara and Barry Frantz, all of Wellman; and many cousins.
Memorials were to be directed to a fund in Josh’s name at Gateway State Bank.
Lemke Funeral Home North Chapel was in charge of arrangements.