A man separated from his vehicle for almost a year through no fault of his own, finally got it back.
Cook County investigators suspected Jose Aguirre's SUV played a role in a 2007 high-profile double murder case,.
Aguirre was not the owner of the 2002 Cadillac Escalade at the time of the murders, and is suspected of no wrongdoing.
Still, when a search warrant was presented and the car whisked away, Aguirre was left paying his car note, and struggling to find a way to get to his job at a South Side auto factory.
He says he was patient, and understood that justice was at stake. But as the weeks grew into months, Aguirre says he couldn't get any answers about when he might get his vehicle back. He says detectives originally told him it might take "two to three weeks," and when that timeline ran into eight months and he still couldn't get answers, Aguirre turned to NBC5 Investigates.
The Cook County State's Attorney would not comment on its handling of Aguirre's WUV in connection with the investigation, but a prosecutor did release the vehicle the same day NBC5 Investigates called.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told NBC 5 the case could have -- and should have -- been handled very differently.
"What happened to Mr. Aguirre was just plain wrong," Dart said. "There needs to be a more thoughtful process for somebody whose life has been interrupted and had nothing to do with anything."
Aguirre now has the vehicle back, but it's in no shape to hit the road. The interior is ripped apart, and investigators say they could not acquire the parts needed to put it back to its original shape.
They offered Aguirre a repair job, or the money to do it himself. Aguirre says he chose the latter option, because his family wants no part of riding in a vehicle clearly connected in some way to a double murder.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's office found the funds to pay Aguirre back for all the car payments he made while the car was in custody, as well. The money used comes from funds seized from drug dealers.
Aguirre says he now plans to sell the SUV for scrap parts, and move on. There's no word from investigators if evidence was ultimately found in Aguirre's vehicle, and the murder investigation continues.