I'll try to keep this short. My life feels consumed by the circumstances surrounding my brother's death--just in case the readers here haven't figured that out by now. I am sorry that feeling stuck keeps showing up here. Believe it or not, I am getting a better.
The officer assigned to the case has finally gotten the paperwork processed to pull the rental car off the road. It's been three weeks (plus) since the hit and run. The officer told me that the car is "very clean" with the exception of evidence of bullet holes! This is consistent with the story the driver told the police, which is that he was being shot at and he didn't, as far as he knows, hit anything or anyone. He claims that another car was involved. I asked the police if he asked the guy why he changed the tires on the car. The answer: They were damaged due to bullets. This is insane! Could it be they were changed to cover up evidence of the accident? I asked why he hadn't been arrested for again driving another rental without a license. The police officer told me. "Someone else would have to arrest him, if I did, I could be charged with harassing him." I just don't get this at all.
The officer told me that there is "no doubt" that this driver hit and killed my brother. He needs an eyewitness or the driver's conscious would need to lead to a confession. IF, however, the car, which has been sent to the State of IL police for investigation of DNA evidence, is returned without DNA evidence, the case is basically closed. Unless someone can put him behind the wheel, this guy walks. The passenger has mysteriously disappeared, we think, because the rumors are flying that he's being sought. No one seems able/willing/ to provide anything but anonymous information.
I've written to an investigative reporter with one of the newspapers here and I'm still waiting for a response. Last week, the house belonging to one of the people whose name I gave to the police, was "shot up" as part of some gang conflict. I don't believe this has anything to do with the case but is symptomatic of the problems frequently transpiring in that community.
If the car is returned with DNA evidence that matches Michael, the January court date for the driver then will be upgraded to a felony. He'll be in January court to address three relatively minor citations he was given when he turned himself in.
Finally, another person who has information on the case has been visited by the mother and grandmother of the driver. The rumor is that she is being paid to keep silent. I've talked to this woman to find out why she hasn't called the police with the info she has. Her excuse, "I'm sick and coughing blood. And, I don't have minutes on my cellphone." I resisted the temptation to say I'd get the phone turned on. To date, I've been squeezed for a total of $500 by another "eyewitness."
I've been shown the error of my ways and will not go down that route again. Desperation will make one do strange things and the people who have unfortunately learned to survive by any means necessary can smell a sucker a mile away.
So, I remain determined, but frustrated and more than a little exhausted.