Family of drug-addicted hit and run victim: 'More relieved she's dead than living a rotten life'
Kayla Yaroch before and after her battle with heroin. She was found dead on Malcolm Street.
BAD AXE, Mich. (WJBK) - Police learned Kayla Yaroch was battling drug addiction and though she lived a difficult life, her family loved her dearly and wants her killer caught.
Her grandmother, Lynette Hahn, said the funeral almost brings a feeling of relief.
"I'm more relieved she's dead than out there living a rotten life."
That rotten life eventually took her own. Yaroch was addicted to heroin. Her body was found naked and run over on Malcolm Street in Detroit.
"We did all that we could do. We had to leave it in the hands of the Lord, and I want to believe it this is how the Lord handled it -- that he took her with him."
Growing up, Yaroch was described as artistic, always on the go and someone who loved the out doors. In her late teens, living on her own, she was unable to keep a job and becoming depressed. Her grandmother took her in but noticed a change.
"My girlfriend said, 'I'm not afraid, I'll go in her room and check for drugs, and she found them,'" Hahn said.
Years passed and as she continued to hide and lie, Hahn said her granddaughter became an expert. She began shoplifting, even stealing her car, twice. Yaroch woud leave, then come back looking even thinner with teeth missing, and hopelessness in her eyes.
"I've never seen anyone look like that," Hahn said. "She looked like death walking."
Hahn said when Yaroch was arrested and brought back to Bad Axe for retail fraud, she thought it was her granddaughter's last chance to get help. After getting out of jail, no one could force Yaroch to go to rehab. She went back to Detroit.
"And then she just disappeared," Hahn said.
But Hahn continued to search for hear.
"I loved my granddaughter and I wanted to get her help," she said.
Hahn -- feeing helpless and desperate-- was unable to track down Kayla for a year. In September of 2015, she hired former Fox 2 reporter and now private investigator Scott Lewis to try and find Yaroch.
"I could tell how worried she was about this girl," Lewis said. "I told her the odds aren't good, but that I could at least try."
Looking for months, Lewis learned Yaroch had become a prostitute. Her former spot to pick up customers was Harper and Dickerson. Unable to get a face-to-face, Lewis said at one point he believes he got her pimp on the phone when he tried contacting her.
A friend of Lewis', a retired police officer, also tried to convince Yaroch to call her grandmother, but she never did.
"Heroin is an awful drug and once it gets ahold of these women and they get under the control of a pimp, it usually doesn't have a good ending," Lewis said.
Lewis said he received an anonymous tip where Kayla was last seen alive -- a well-known dope house on Maiden.
Yaroch's body was discovered June 21 not far from there. She was naked, bloody and lying in the street., with a tire track and road rash on her body.
Hahn believes her body was dumped.
"The drugs initially killed her, but somebody murdered her too," she said. "And I believe it was her pimp."
As Detroit police continue to investigate what happened to Yaroch, her grandmother is keeping the memories of who she used to be.
"I think there's too many people in denial like I was. (I said), 'No, Kayla wouldn't do that.,'" Hahn said. "You have to pay attention."