CHICAGO (CBS) – Charges were announced Monday in the murder of a Northbrook real estate attorney found dead in his law office last December.
The suspect has been charged, but he is not in custody.
Northbrook Police said they filed a warrant against the suspect five weeks ago, but they are just now releasing a photo of the man they are looking for. They are hoping the public can help find him.
“This was not a random act,” said Northbrook Police Chief Charles Wernick.
Chief Wernick said 50-year-old John Panaligan is the man wanted for the murder of real estate attorney, Jigar Patel.
“We believed then and we do now,” Wernick said. “Our victim was targeted by Mr. Panaligan.”
Police said Panaligan is the man seen in the surveillance images, wearing a trench coat and a hat, and walking with a cane as a disguise as he left the office building in Northbrook on Dec. 7, 2016. That is when 36-year-old Jigar Patel was strangled and left for dead inside his office.
“He has fled the area, and we are working with federal partners to locate him and place him in custody,” Wernick said.
Authorities believe Panaligan killed Patel over a pending lawsuit.
“Mr. Patel was the attorney on record,” Wernick said. “Suing the Panaligans and their business vital home healthcare.”
Police have not released a picture of the victim and said the family does not want to talk to the press. They just want Mr. Panaligan caught.
“Mrs. Patel and the Patel family continue to request their privacy,” Wernick said. “It is a very difficult time for them.”
Panaligan is the owner of ‘Vital Wellness Home Health’ based out of Naperville. An attorney representing the company told CBS 2 the lawsuit police mentioned is a dispute over $20,000. The attorney said the company is cooperating with authorities about the case.
The U.S. Marshals have offered a reward leading to the arrest of Panaligan. Anyone with information is asked to please call 888-869-4590.