Lois Doyle said the Dallas County Sheriff's Office isn't doing enough to try and bring her daughter's accused killer to justice, a man who was under deputies' thumbs before he fled to El Salvador.
It's been nearly two years since investigators say drunken driver Israel Moreira-Sorto caused a wreck that killed 21-year-old Amanda Lizzio, who was driving home with a friend along Interstate 35E in Dallas near the Oak Lawn Avenue exit.
"It’s an open wound. I still cry a lot every day. It’s just very sad," Doyle said. "I miss her so much."
Her house is covered in dozens of framed photographs of her daughter, her only child.
Israel Moreira-Sorto is an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador with family ties to Texas. Deputies said he had a blood-alcohol three times the legal limit when he slammed into Lizzio’s car on Nov. 16, 2013.
Crash reports show that the collision involved four vehicles. Amanda Lizzio's car blew a tire, and a second car stopped to help.
Records show that Moreira-Sorto's car crossed multiple lanes of traffic and slammed into them. Then, a fourth van slammed into Moreira-Sorto.
Because Moreira-Sorto was the third car in the crash site, investigators at first didn’t think he caused the crash. Rather, they believed at first he was just a victim.
Amanda Lizzio suffered a traumatic brain injury and was critically injured. She remained heavily sedated at Parkland Memorial Hospital for more than a week, before suffering several mini-strokes and eventually passing away Nov. 25, 2013.
At the hospital, Moreira-Sorto didn’t have a driver's license or any kind of valid identification. That night, Lizzio’s mother started asking deputies why he wasn’t under arrest.
"The detective told me, 'It’s only a misdemeanor; we’re not going to hold someone in custody for a misdemeanor,'" she said.
Doyle said that as her daughter fought for her life, she kept pressing for answers about why no one was charged.
"He actually said, 'accidents happen.' That was his phrase. That got me totally upset. Because we knew he was drunk. We knew the guy committed a crime, and yet they didn’t hold him in the hospital," she said.
Detectives drew Moreira-Sorto's blood at the hospital, and Doyle said the results were available within hours.
The sheriff's department says the Vehicle Crimes Unit, which investigates fatality crashes, didn't become involved in the case for more than a week after the wreck, because Lizzio was still alive.
Detectives investigated the crash for weeks and eventually signed an intoxication manslaughter warrant on Moreira-Sorto on Jan. 30, 2014, more than two months after the wreck.
By then, Moreira-Sorto was out of the hospital and had fled to El Salvador, detectives said.
According to a 100-year-old treaty with that country, Moreira-Sorto can't be extradited because intoxication manslaughter isn't a recognized crime specifically listed on the document.
"There were no cars in 1911. You’re not going to have intoxication manslaughter with a horse. Or a bicycle. It’s not fair," Doyle said.
"They need to think up a way to get him charged with murder. He knowingly got behind the wheel of a car drunk, he made that choice. It was his intent to drive," she added.
The Dallas County Sheriff's Department did not agree to an interview. The lead detective over the VCU has since been promoted and moved out of the Unit. A spokesman said it's still an open case and detectives want very much to bring justice to Lizzio.
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez reached out to Lois Doyle last summer.
"Witnesses gave conflicting statements during the initial investigation," Valdez wrote. "And because of that, my officers interviewed and released a person eventually found responsible. But be assured that the Dallas County Sheriff's office is doing all we can to apprehend the person responsible.”
"The sheriff’s department hasn’t done anything. They keep giving me excuses," Doyle said. "They're lying to me. They're not trying to upgrade the charge. They're not working with El Salvador to try and track him down, they've just given up."
Doyle said she’s speaking out to keep her daughter’s memory alive.
"I miss her laughter, her smile, talking to her. We were really close," she said. "She had her whole life ahead of her and it was stolen."
Lizzio had graduated from Tarrant County Community College and was enrolled at UNT studying hospitality.
"She was so great dealing with people," Doyle said. "She had a gift when it came to making an impression. People loved her, everyone loved her."
She worked as a front desk clerk at the Grand Hyatt D/FW Airport Hotel. Doyle says her daughter dreamed of managing a hotel or restaurant, and wanted to travel internationally.
Records show that Moreira-Sorto was arrested in Mesquite in 2012 for a public intoxication charge, a misdemeanor.