Officials: Robbery victim saved wife's life before he died

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CHICAGO (AP) — A grocery store owner likely saved his wife's life during a suburban Chicago home invasion by kicking down their car's back seat and allowing her to crawl out of the trunk, where their two attackers had stuffed them after binding their hands, authorities said Wednesday.

Francisco Aranda, 63, didn't survive the Sunday night attack at his and his wife's home in a secluded area of unincorporated Crete Township, about 40 miles south of Chicago. Autopsy results are pending, but Will County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer said Aranda's 59-year-old wife, whose name hasn't been released, told detectives that "she heard him breathing erratically and then she passed out."

Investigators believe Aranda, who owned a Chicago grocery story, and his wife were specifically targeted, Hoffmeyer said. The attackers overpowered them, bound their hands with plastic ties and stuffed them in the trunk of their car, which was parked in the garage. The assailants then ransacked their home.

At some point, Aranda managed to kick down the back seat, allowing his wife to crawl into that area, which is where deputies eventually spotted her, Hoffmeyer said.

"After interviewing the wife and investigating, we believe he saved her life," Hoffmeyer said of Aranda's actions.

Deputies were dispatched to the house Monday morning after relatives of the couple called authorities to report that neither Aranda nor his wife had shown up to work. They found the wife inside the car with her hands bound so tightly that they had turned black, Hoffmeyer said. She was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover and be released this week.

No arrests have been made.

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