Police identify body as missing Chicago man

January 4, 2010 12:27:55 PM PST
Chicago police say a body found in a car was that of a man missing for more than a week.Relatives say 27-year-old Raul Barajas was very close to his family. A few months ago, he donated a kidney to one of his sisters.

Barajas was still taking medication for the kidney transplant when he went missing exactly a week ago. In addition, the 27-year-old's family says he talked with his mother or sisters almost everyday. So, the Barajas family had a feeling something was wrong, but they never thought it would end so tragically.

Ever since Barajas was reported missing a week ago, his family tried to stay positive that he would return.

"We were just trying to keep in my mind that he was going to come back to us," said Sandra Cano, the victim's sister.

Even as the days passed, the Barajas family refused to think bad thoughts. However, hope turned to tragedy as Barajas' frozen body was discovered in the back seat of his car on the South Side. Raul was shot in the head.

"I don't think he had any enemies because he wasn't a bad person. He didn't have an attitude toward anyone, and if you asked for help, he would help you," Cano said.

And Raul did more than help his older sister, Laura. He saved her life. Back in September, Raul donated a kidney to her.

"When he did it, he didn't ask for nothing in return. That's they type of person he was," Cano said.

Raul was still recuperating from the surgery, although in recent weeks, he did return to the gym. His sisters say staying fit was a passion for this former Marine.

"We were always together on Christmas Eve. We went to the movies. The following morning, he texted me if I wanted to go to the gym, but I told him I couldn't," said Maritza Barajas.

But Raul never made it to the gym. One week later, his mother grieved Sunday as she stared at an altar the Barajas' created in their home. Upstairs, Raul's sisters looked at their brother's Facebook page, where he posted his favorite quote and described himself as down to earth.

"We just hope that if anybody saw anything, we hope they will contact police because we just want to find out who did this to him," Cano said.

Police said Sunday they did not have anyone in custody.

The Barajas family has no idea who would want to kill Raul. He was the third child in a family of six children.

His sisters say he had a great sense of humor and would do anything for his family.

Raul's father was out of work for a while. He is still trying to pay the hospital bills from the transplant, and now he is faced with paying for a funeral.

The family has set up an account with the number 762982957 at Chase bank to accept donations under the name of Laura Barajas, Raul's sister that received his kidney.