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Family Wants Answers In Kidnapping, Death

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Francisco Favela

The body of Francisco Favela was found Monday night, two days after he was kidnapped. (Credit: CBS)

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UPADTED 12/14/10 9:14 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – At first it was a kidnapping, but now it’s a case of murder.

The family of Francisco Favela wants answers, after two men were charged in connection with the death of the kidnapping victim.

The search is also on for more suspects involved.

It all started on Saturday afternoon, when three men and a woman showed up at an apartment building in the 2200 block of South Keeler Avenue. They claimed they wanted to rent one of the units.

Favela, who owned and managed the building, invited the group inside, where another man was also present. At that point, the would-be renters pulled guns, and while the other man escaped, Favela was bound with duct tape.

Authorities say the suspects demanded $500,000 ransom from Favela’s family, but they ended up killing him.

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Two men have been arrested and charged in the case.

Darnell Stokes, 38, of Justice, was charged at 6 p.m. Monday with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated unlawful restraint.

Keith Watts, 34, of the 3300 block of West 19th Street, was charged at 6:07 pm. Monday with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated unlawful restraint and also two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, police said.

In court Tuesday afternoon, Cook County prosecutors said that when police found Watts, he was washing bloody clothes and had two handguns. When officers examined his cell phone, they found he had called the victim several times.

The pair was charged before the Favela’s body was found, and they have not been charged with murder.

Favela’s body was found in a car in a garage in the 1100 block of North Springfield Avenue Monday night.

Favela, of the 3700 block of South Cuyler Avenue in Berwyn, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to the medical examiner’s office. An autopsy on Tuesday found that he suffered blunt head trauma and incise wounds from an assault and his death was ruled a homicide, the medical examiner’s office said.

On Tuesday, Favela’s family and loved-ones gathered and prayed in the living room of his home.

His niece, Ashley Mejorado, had this to say to the murders: “I would just tell them, ‘Don’t you have a heart? Don’t you know that you have a brother, a father, a cousin that could be somebody in your family whom they did this to? How can you just kill somebody else’s? A person? Just hate them for no reason?”

Favela’s wife and two teenage sons were too distraught to talk. But another niece, Sandy Dominguez, said she loved Favela like a father. She sai dthe loss of her uncle will forever change the family.

“They destroyed our family, and everything’s not going to be the same today, or tomorrow,” Dominguez said.

His nieces say he always trusted people. Now they fear that belief in the essential goodness of man cost him his life.

“He would never expect somebody to do that to him, just going to show an apartment,” Mejorado said. “It was something he did everyday; everyday.”

“Too generous. He’d go above and beyond for his family or his friends; even his neighbors,” Dominguez said tearfully.

Police said the investigation is still ongoing and they are looking for other suspects.

For that reason, Favela’s family is still still offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his killers.

“Ten thousand dollars for anybody who can give us information leading to his killer,” Mejorado said. “We want to make sure he pays for what he did.”

Favela was a hardworking father who had been rehabbing homes for the past two decades. He started with little, but owned about half a dozen buildings when he was killed.

A man working for Favela also was kidnapped on Saturday, but he managed to escape.

Police are still looking for other possible suspects in this case.

Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya, CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli, Jim Williams and Pamela Jones, and the Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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