Filipino businessman in Illinois wanted for murder
NORTHBROOK, Illinois—An owner of a home health care firm is on the lam and is now wanted for the first-degree murder of a real estate lawyer.
Described by the police as “extremely dangerous,” John G. Panaligan, 50, is charged with the strangulation death of 36-year-old Jigar Patel at his law office in this upscale suburb on the north of Chicago on December 7, 2016.
In a press conference on March 6, Northbrook Police Chief Charles Wernick, revealed that Panaligan of Aurora, Illinois, had left the area right after Patel was found dead three months ago. Wernick believes that the suspect is still in the country.
Earlier, the police had released video images of a man in a trench coat, dark glasses and a hat and walking with a cane caught in the surveillance camera in the building where the victim rented an office during the same time the crime occurred.
Police said that the man was Panaligan in disguise and that he is not disabled despite the man shown walking with a cane. Asked why it took three months to charge Panaligan, Wernick said that police made sure they established a motive and that other related police findings were in place to build a strong case against the suspect.
It was reported that Panaligan and a business partner were sued in 2009 by Patel’s two clients who claimed a breach of trust and of fiduciary duties related to a transaction involving the sale of the Naperville, Illinois-based Vital Wellness Home Care, now owned partly by Panaligan.
The longstanding case was reportedly settled with the Illinois Supreme Court ruling in favor of Patel’s clients who were awarded a substantial amount of money.
Police chief Wernick credited the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force, the Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Marshal Service with the investigative assistance accorded to his police force that led to the formal charges against Panaligan.
It was pointed out that the suspect has no previous criminal record and that he was born in the Philippines. Police postings described Panaligan as an Asian with black hair, brown eyes, stands 5 feet five inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds.
Northbrook police is asking anyone with information to contact its investigations unit at (847) 664-4181.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Marshals Service, which describes the suspect as “extremely dangerous,” is offering a $3,000 reward for any information leading to Panaligan’s arrest. Call (888) 869-4590.