NBC 7 Responds

NBC 7 Responds helps woman get late father's car back

Norma Arias-Hicks says her father’s caregiver and a family member refused to return the SUV

NBC Universal, Inc.

Norma Arias-Hicks lights up when talking about her mom and dad.

“They loved to dance. Mom’s favorite thing was dancing,” Arias-Hicks said. “They were both just so compatible and so loving with one another."

Her mom passed a while back, so Arias-Hicks and her dad Robert spent a lot of time together before he unexpectedly died last fall.

“He was 96, and he was a real fighter,” Arias-Hicks told NBC 7. “The thing I remember the most about him is how he loved my mom. And I may get emotional, so I'm going to have to not talk about that.”

But what Arias-Hicks did want to talk about was some trouble she ran into with her father’s car after he passed. His Nissan Rogue still had about $24,000 left on the loan, and Arias-Hicks said she agreed to let a family member of her father’s caregiver drive the SUV and take over the loan.

“But she had to apply, had to go through loan approval, had to do a number of things,” she said.

But those things never happened, according to Arias-Hicks.

“So at that point, after sending numerous texts, emails, voicemails, I finally gave up. Almost seven months this had been happening," she said.

She had an attorney send a letter to the women demanding they return the SUV. She said they finally called her back and agreed to hand it over, but a few days later, she got another call from them.

“They say, 'We're not going to return the car to you. We're going to hide the vehicle,'" Arias-Hicks told NBC 7. “And then after that, I said, 'I've got to call the police.'"

She took a couple of trips to the sheriff’s substation near her home in Fallbrook trying to file a report and was eventually told she needed to call San Diego police instead since that’s where her father had lived, and where the SUV was. But she says she never got a call back from SDPD, and that’s when she decided to call NBC 7 Responds.

After talking to Arias-Hicks, NBC 7 contacted SDPD right away. She got a call from them that same day.

“As soon as we heard about it, we got right on it,” Capt. Julie Epperson with SDPD said.

Epperson told NBC 7 that Sgt. Ed McGuire is the one who called Arias-Hicks and took the report. He then tried to call the two women who had the car.

“We eventually got a hold of them and explained to them that, you know, they did not have a right to have the car at that point,” Epperson said. “And it sounded like there was a misunderstanding between them over who would actually own the vehicle and maybe over payment of it, so eventually, this lady agreed to give the car back to us.”

While Arias-Hicks doesn’t agree that it was a misunderstanding, she was thankful to finally get her dad’s SUV back. Epperson said Arias-Hicks was crying tears of joy after she received the news that SDPD got her car back.

And Arias-Hicks said she’s most thankful to NBC 7 Responds for the team’s help.

“It was the best thing I did because, up until that point, there was no compassion. And when I finally spoke with your producer, Meredith, her voice was the voice of compassion. And I thought, finally, someone understands the fear and the concern that I had. And that meant a lot," Arias-Hicks said.

SDPD said no charges will be filed in the case because they consider it a civil matter.

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