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Warner Robins hit and run victims' family speaks out to raise awareness about mental health illnesses and homelessness

To thank the community for their support, they invite the public to attend his funeral and have a meal following the service.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — The funeral for last week's Warner Robins' hit-and-run victim is coming up, and the family is doing something special to honor him.

A week ago, a driver hit and killed Christopher Miolen as he walked across Watson Boulevard.

Since then, his family has been mourning his loss and organizing a public funeral service to be held at McCullough Funeral Home in Warner Robins.

Bright flowers and several photographs line Keith Miolen's childhood home.

Early Wednesday morning Keith flew in from New York.

"I felt like I needed to come home and tell my mother face to face," Keith said.

On July 5, Keith's brother, Christopher Miolen, died in Warner Robins from a pedestrian, hit-and-run accident, just about 100 yards from where he lived.

"It's been a tough week. Schizophrenia hit him at a young age, and that was hard for Chris hard for the family. We began to see a side that none of us ever expected," Keith said. "That's one of the reasons why we are so sympathetic to others and people in the community. Everyone knows someone or passes someone on the road that has a mental illness or is homeless. We want to try and make that the focus point of this situation and not the negative."

Keith also said Chris has been homeless for most of his life.

"I'm sure the community has passed Chris many times throughout the years, pushing a buggy up and down the road," Keith said.

He said the family stayed in touch with him through the years and tried to help him.

"Put him up in a hotel and anything to get him off the street, feed him. Chris would always just go back," Keith said. "He was happy doing that; and anything we gave to him, he'd give it away. He was not a materialistic person and we just thought this would be the last opportunity for Chris to give back as well." 

To thank the community for their support, they are inviting the public to attend his funeral and have a meal following the service.

"We decided to find some of his friends and let them be pallbearers, and it kinda evolved from that," Keith said.

Keith says Chris's journey has been "hard to understand," but his family has always loved him.

"We have worried about Chris for years, being homeless, just like other families worry about their family members. He does come from a sound family, so that's why the community is involved," Keith said. "We know other families are in the same situation, so others can see, mental illness affects everyone, even if you come from a good home."

Police have warrants out for the arrest of Tyrus Davis of Forest Park, who they believe hit him.

He faces charges of homicide by vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, hit-and-run, and failure to report an accident.

"We don't have any harsh feelings. We have worried about Chris for years with being homeless, just like other families worry about their family members that are homeless. In time, something is going to happen to us all. There are not harsh feelings," Keith said. "It does bother me as well as others in the community that they didn't stop. I will say, the driver had a green light. We are a fair and just family, a god-fearing family. Chris wasn't crossing at a crosswalk. It was dark. We are sympathetic to the situation, but they didn't stop. That's all that they had to do, was just stop. It wasn't their fault, other than not stopping." 

Keith says "patience and understanding" is his advice to others going through similar situations.

"I moved my brother to New York to try and get him off the streets. He has lived with me several times, but he's lived in community homes, and we've put him up in hotels and things like that, and I've lost patience. We've been angry with each other and that kind of thing, but that is a situation that happens in all families," Keith said. "It's normal. But it's hard to understand how someone can be happy and homeless if that doesn't apply to you and that's not our lifestyle, but it is there. If there was a message to be sent to people in this sort of situation, it would be patient and understanding. It's hard to understand when someone thinks like that. You want to take care of them, and you want to do what's best for them, but at the same time, you want him to be happy; and that's been a tough pill to swallow, especially for those who loved him." 

Keith says if you can't attend his funeral Saturday morning at 11 a.m., he asks you to donate to the Salvation Army, the Phoenix Center and River Edge or help the next homeless person you drive by in honor of Chris.

Keith also says if you want to donate food for the funeral service, you can call him at 478-318-3697, or you can call McCullough Funeral Home at (478) 953-1478.

McCullough Funeral Home is located at 417 South Houston Lake Road, Warner Robins, GA 31088.

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