Fil-Am murder suspect might have fled to PH via Mexico
NORTHBROOK, Illinois — Police in this upscale suburb north of Chicago disclosed November 8 that the Filipino American suspect in the murder of a real estate lawyer in this village last December 7 might have fled to the Philippines by way of Mexico.
Police had issued an international red alert for the arrest and extradition of John G. Panaligan, 50, formerly of Aurora, Illinois. The suspect is considered to be extremely dangerous.
Northbrook police chief, Charles Warwick announced in a press conference last March 6, that Panaligan had left the Chicago area right after the strangulation death of 36-year-old Jigar Patel at his law office.
Police investigators said that they found evidence that Panaligan fled to Mexico by truck, exiting through El Paso, Texas. Police also believe Panaligan’s business associates helped him escape by sending money to Durango, Mexico. The police did not arrest him.
Further, police revealed that Panaligan had remitted a large amount of money to his relatives in the Philippines over a period of time. Police added that he is the brother-in-law of Mayor Jose J. Cerrado of Tuy, Batangas. Panaligan is said to have invested in a large track of land in Tuy where he has many relatives.
Murder victim Patel represented Panaligan’s former business partners who sued him and his relatives for breach of trust and fiduciary duties related to the sale of their home health company, Vital Wellness Home Care, based in Naperville, Illinois.
Panaligan lost an appeal in the Illinois Supreme Court, with Patel winning the case for his clients. Police believed that this was Panaligan’s motive in the slaying of the lawyer.
Police previously released a copy of a video monitor in the Northbrook office building where Patel was found dead. A man disguised as disabled in a trench coat was caught on camera within the time period of the murder. Police believe that the image is that of the murder suspect.
Northbrook police who are working with the US Marshals Service offered a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and extradition of Panaligan. He is described as a 5-foot-5, 140-pound Asian man with brown eyes and black hair. Anyone with information should call police at (847) 664-4464 or (847) 664-4457.
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