Building partially collapses after natural gas explosion in Denver

Family loses home, possessions when RV towed

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DENVER -- A parking mix-up has left a Denver family homeless with all of their possessions locked away.

Vanessa Leslie and her husband Elias Dominguez recently lost their jobs and their home. They moved all of their things into an RV, but a parking mistake led to a costly tow at the wrong time.

The parents and their four kids said they're trying to get the money together to get their RV, but they reached out to the FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers because they're also faced with a bill to simply access their things.

“It’s hard right now … not to have anything for my kids," Leslie said.

Leslie lost her job in January, and Dominguez has struggled to keep steady work and his family in a home as he re-enters society after a felony past involving drugs.

“Obstacles keep reoccuring and, as a man, it makes you feel less than," Dominguez said. "You feel hopeless.”

The family found hope recently when a generous couple donated an RV to them. After losing their home, they used the RV to store their possessions until they could move in. They even contemplated living in it.

“It was a blessing," Dominguez said. "It helped us.”

"We were like, this is our last option, our family can’t take all of us in so we had to do something," Leslie said. "The RV was our last hope.”

But that hope was taken away when they parked it outside a family member’s townhouse on Sunday. They failed to recognize that it was on the wrong side of a barricade and in the morning it was gone. It had been towed from the private lot by Wyatts Towing.

“It was going to be $375 to get it out that day," Leslie said.

The family didn't have the money to get their RV back, and the cost is now well above $500.

Knowing they couldn't pay soon, they asked about retrieving some possessions and got more discouraging news. Wyatts Towing told them they had to pay $160 before they could get anything, including clothes and toiletries.

“It’s a lot of money, to come up with for us," Dominguez said. "So it’s an ultimatum. Do we feed our kids, do we do what we need to, or do we get our clothes so our kids can be comfortable?”

As they try to come up with the money, Leslie said it has been hardest on her daughter.

“She’s been going to school every day and she has come home and told me that kids have asked her why is she in the same clothes. She doesn’t know how to respond," Leslie said.

For now, it's answer she can't give.

“I understand I have to pay to get the truck out," she said. "I’ll do that, but I just want at least be able to get a week of clothes out. I’m not asking for everything.”

The city of Denver does not charge for removing possessions from a towed vehicle, as long as you have documentation, but Wyatts is a private tow company and an employee told the Problem Solvers it would not waive the fee. When we asked to speak to a manager, we were told one wouldn't be available until Monday.