By Megan Hickey

CHICAGO (CBS) – Investigators say they may be close to finally solving who killed Francisco Aranda, who was robbed, tied up and left for dead in the truck of his car with his terrified wife in June.

Police in south suburban Crete have identified two persons of interest in the case. The suspects are both male, and one of them lives near Aranda’s Chicago grocery store.

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Investigators think the suspects followed Aranda to his home in Crete, where they robbed and killed him.

At Aranda’s Back of the Yards store, SuperMercado La Raza, a prayer card hangs near the cash register. He was not only a business owner, but a leader in the community, residents there say.

Francisco “Pancho” Aranda

Francisco Aranda was known to his family and customers as “Pancho” and worked here for decades.

Now a memorial to him hangs on the wall.

Aranda’s family has been waiting for answers since June, when the 63-year-old shop owner and his wife were bound and forced into the trunk of their Chevy Impala while a pair of burglars ransacked their Crete Township home.

Aranda kicked through the back seat, allowing his wife to crawl through the opening.

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But by the time investigators found them hours later, Aranda had died.

The CBS 2 Investigators obtained records showing the Arandas’ business had been targeted by burglars repeatedly in the past, stealing more than $6,000 within just the past two years.

Aranda’s niece, Perla Castillo, now owns the shop.

She said the family was thrilled with the news that there could be a break in the case.

Now they want to see charges filed.

“First of all, who did it, why they did it, why him?” Castillo said. “I think that’s everyone’s question, why him?”

The Will County Sheriff’s Office says investigators have since recovered some of the items that were stolen from Aranda’s home and have been in contact with Aranda’s widow on a weekly basis.

No word on when charges could be filed.


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Megan Hickey