Nearly two years after a deadly hit-and-run crash that remains unsolved, the parents of one victim say Chicago police have kept them in the dark, leaving them with no idea how much evidence investigators have collected – until NBC 5 Investigates showed them.
On the evening of Dec. 23, 2020, as their families prepared for the Christmas holiday, 12-year-old Giovany Bucio and Araceli Gutierrez, 48, walked to the store just blocks away from his family’s Gage Park home. They never returned.
Just after 8 p.m., a black sedan speeding west on 55th Street fatally struck them as they crossed the street just east of Kedzie Avenue. The car fled the scene.
“We never expected this to happen, you know? We’re happy, getting ready,” Giovany’s father Angel Bucio said. “It’s the worst thing that you could feel.”
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And since that day, Giovany’s parents say police have not kept them informed of developments in the case.
“When I always call them, they say, ‘Oh the detective’s not here and call back,’ I call back and they tell you the same thing. I’m not happy with that,” Bucio said.
“Right now, they don’t even give us a call, like courtesy, like this is how the case is going, nothing,” he added. “It makes you think they’re not doing their job.”
Through public records requests, NBC 5 Investigates and Telemundo Chicago Investiga obtained dozens of surveillance and body-worn camera videos, photos, witness interviews and more, detailing the evidence Chicago police have collected on the case.
It shows that a tipster called police less than 48 hours after the crash, having spotted an abandoned, heavily damaged Chevy Malibu and putting two and two together. Records show police later tracked the cell phone of the owner of that car – placing him near the scene of the crash that night, then driving down to Mexico in a different vehicle immediately after.
Giovany’s parents said it’s been over six months since they last spoke with Chicago police – and they had no idea how much investigators know.
“I thought they had very little but now I see it’s a lot of evidence,” Bucio said, adding, “If it wasn't for you I wouldn't know nothing until now.”
He said he didn’t understand why police haven’t at least kept them informed.
“They haven’t called us, nothing, so why? You already have evidence, you have videos, why not call the family of the person that they kill your son?” Bucio asked. “Why not share whatever you have with the family that’s going through this?”
NBC 5 Investigates asked Chicago police if they’ve attempted to locate the suspect, or notified authorities in Mexico, or are in communication with federal officials in the event that the suspect crosses the border.
But, as they have with every other inquiry on a hit-and-run case, CPD again refused to answer any specific questions, citing the ongoing nature of their investigation.
“The Chicago Police Department's Major Accidents Investigations Unit is actively and thoroughly investigating this case to apprehend the individual responsible,” CPD said in a statement. “Due to this being an ongoing investigation, we will not release further details as we continue to seek justice on behalf of the victims and their families.”
Giovany’s parents say their son was loving and kind, always looking after his younger brother – even waking up early on weekends to feed him breakfast – and friendly with everyone at school.
As Giovany’s classmates graduated eighth grade without him this year, his school sent his family a diploma filled with notes from friends, telling him how much he is loved and missed.
“We always talked about his graduation and although he’s not physically here, he left me this diploma that for me, is gold,” his mother Sandy Gordoa said, speaking in Spanish.
But Giovany’s parents said the police response has only caused confusion and pain.
“Why they haven’t do anything? Like why they waiting to do something?” Bucio asked.
“Can I go out right now and kill someone and hide and they’ll leave things like this?” Gordoa asked, in Spanish. “You can’t go out with confidence because anyone can kill you and they don’t do anything."
Since this crash, there have been more than 61,000 hit-and-runs across Chicago, city data shows. Those crashes have killed at least 64 people and left more than 8,000 others injured.