Feb 1, 2011 8:23 PM by Monica Quintero

Neighbor talks about discovering woman's body in Nipomo

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Deputies have identified the woman found dead on a roadway in Nipomo early Tuesday morning. She's 55-year-old Krista Babbitt of Nipomo.

Sheriff's deputies and the California Highway Patrol are working together on this investigation. CHP is classifying it right now as a felony hit and run. Sheriff's deputies tell us the preliminary investigation indicates she was hit several times by several vehicles.

The tragedy that unfolded took Dennis Leatham by complete surprise. Leatham said, "The property owner and I were drinking coffee and he noticed cars were slowing down on the road, we thought nothing of it."

But he says more cars kept building up in the area and it sparked their interest. Leatham said, "Came out here and it was pitch dark around 6 am roughly." He went on to say, "We got more curious thought maybe a cow got loose or an animal. I could tell when I got within 10 to 15 feet it was not an animal, it was a human being."

Rob Bryn, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department, said, "The death was by massive trauma. We're assisting the highway patrol with our crime scene unit just to make sure that there was nothing deliberate about it."

Authorities shut down a portion of the 700 block of Joshua Road in both directions while they searched for clues surrounding the death of Babbitt. Bryn said, "We're trying to canvas the neighborhood, talk to some people to see what they saw and what happened."

Leatham said, "It already happened before me and the property owner got here, it already happened." The Nipomo resident says before making the disturbing discovery he didn't hear or see anything suspicious. Neighbors now hope investigators will be able to piece together how this all came about.

We spoke with a family member who was too emotional to go on camera. But she describes Babbitt as a loving, caring and giving person.

Sheriff's deputies say an autopsy will be conducted on Babbitt's body on Wednesday.


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