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North suburban Chicago family sues Volkswagen for holding up search for kidnapped toddler

Carjacked mom sues Volkswagen for holding up search after kidnapping
Carjacked mom sues Volkswagen for holding up search after kidnapping 03:11

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Libertyville family is suing Volkswagen for refusing to help police track their stolen car, while a kidnapped 2-year-old was in the back seat.

Back in February, Taylor Shepherd, 34, was fresh from a routine visit to the pet store and had brought her dogs and her 7-year-old into the house. She was 24 weeks pregnant with baby Noah at the time.

Shepherd was going back to get her 2-year-old from the car seat, when two carjackers stormed up her driveway in a white BMW. They attacked her and ran her over.

"So they ran over my entire left side of my body," Shepherd said. "There was tire tracks all over the left side of my stomach."

The carjackers then took the car with 2-year-old Isaiah still buckled up in the back.

"And I was just willing to do anything to get to that car and get my baby out," Shepherd said. "I think the mama bear in everybody can relate."

Shepherd called police, and police called Volkswagen.

Carjacked mom suing Volkswagen for holding up search for kidnapped toddler 01:48

Volkswagen's "Car-Net" GPS tracking software could provide a real time location of the car and the 2-year-old. But police were told Shepherd's free trial had expired, and $150 was needed to help.

"It kind of boggled my mind, to be honest with you," said the children's father, Greg Koutelidakis. "I couldn't understand it."

Police couldn't understand it either.

As the search for the VW widened, Shepherd was taken to the emergency room – while being kept in the dark on the uncooperative carmaker.

"This is an abducted 2-year-old, and the response was there is nothing they can do this is their policy," added Deputy Chief Chris Covelli with the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

"I didn't even think that that would be an issue that Volkswagen would refuse to tell us where our son was - especially when it's a kidnapping, and every second matters," said Shepherd. "It's life or death that we're going to get him home."

North suburban Chicago family sues Volkswagen for holding up search for kidnapped toddler 01:01

Eventually, someone paid VW the fee. But by then, Isaiah was found in a parking lot 15 minutes away in Waukegan, walking near a highway.

The family car was found shortly afterward. The thieves, nine months later, are still on the run.

Isaiah and his family are still feeling the effects.

"Nightmares," Shepherd said. "So we're all in therapy."

They're all also all involved in a lawsuit against Volkswagen, filed this week alleging negligence and emotional distress.

Volkswagen said back in February they have a procedure for emergency requests that, "they have executed this process successfully in previous incidents. Unfortunately, in this instance, there was a serious breach of the process." 

"How could you not give that information when you know what could happen to that little child?" Shepherd said.

One month after the incident, Volkswagen began offering complimentary Car-Net Safe & Secure connected vehicle emergency services for five years. To date though, VW has never reached out to Shepherd's family personally.

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