Kidnapped man found dead

December 14, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Two men have been charged in connection with the kidnapping of Francisco Favela.

Witnesses say Favela was abducted Saturday from a home that he had been rehabbing.

One of the two men charged in the case appeared in court Tuesday. Police are searching for others who may have been involved in the crime.

The two men in custody are charged with kidnapping and unlawful restraint, but murder charges have not yet been filed. For now, that appears to have everything to do with what is an ongoing investigation and the police search for at least one -- and perhaps two -- additional suspects.

"I just don't know. Something like this I can't imagine happening to anyone like him," said Sandy Dominguez, victim's niece.

His family is in shock. How, they ask, could anyone kidnap and then kill Francisco Favela?

Favela lived in Berwyn. He bought and rehabbed homes on Chicago's West Side, including one in the 2200-block of South Keeler. Last Saturday, Favela was on South Keeler to show the house to some prospective renters.

"He left that day very happy," said Ashley Mejorado, victim's niece. "He said he was going to come home early...but he never came back."

Later Saturday, Favela's family was called and told to produce a half-million dollar ransom.

Monday night, Favela's body was found in his stolen SUV. The medical examiner's office says he died from blunt trauma.

Several hours earlier, police had already arrested two men, 34-year-old Keith Watts of Chicago and 38-year-old Darnell Stokes of southwest suburban Justice. Both men have previous felony convictions. They are now charged with aggravated kidnapping.

Watts appeared in court Tuesday, prosecutors saying that when he was arrested, police found bloody clothing, and Watts' cell phone revealing a number of calls to Favela the week before the house showing.

"We have no idea who these people are," said Mejorado, "We have never seen these people. We don't know anything about them."

Police aren't revealing much about their investigation. They're talking to an employee of Favela who was working in the home Saturday and was duct-taped and left in a bathtub by the kidnappers. He reportedly has said there were at least three and perhaps four people involved in Favela's abduction.

"There needs to be justice," said Mejorado. "The person cannot be on the street so that they can do it to somebody else. And to know they did this and got nothing -- my uncle was irreplaceable."

Watts bond on the kidnapping charge was set at $800,000.

Stokes appears in court Wednesday.

No word yet on when murder charges are expected to be filed.

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