Former cop charged in extortion plot found dead in jail

November 4, 2012 10:00:00 PM PST
A former Willow Springs cop who had been charged in a kidnap and extortion plot has died in McHenry County jail and officials say it was a suicide.

Gary Engel, 61, was a former Willow Springs officer. He was found hanging in his cell Monday morning. He was accused of plotting with another former officer, Steven Mandell also known as Steven Manning. They allegedly planned to abduct, torture and dismember a businessman who was to be the extortion victim.

Federal agents had been aware of the plot and say they arrested the men just before the kidnapping was to take place.

In a different case, Mandell had been sentenced to death for a murder and kidnapping but that sentence was overturned in 1998.