Downers Grove man pleads guilty to drug-induced homicide in death of 15-year-old exchange student

Downers Grove man pleads guilty to drug-induced homicide in death of 15-year-old exchange student

Downers Grove man pleads guilty to drug-induced homicide in death of 15-year-old exchange student

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced today that a Downers Grove man has entered a plea of guilty to supplying a fatal dose of methadone to a fifteen-year-old foreign exchange student from Spain.

Francis Emanuele, 38 (d.o.b. 3/20/1980) of 6140 Carpenter Street appeared in court this morning where he entered a plea of guilty to one count of Drug Induced Homicide, a Class X Felony and one count of Indecent Solicitation of a Child – Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, a Class 3 Felony.

On October 25, 2016, a $1 million arrest warrant was issued for Emanuele. The following day, Emanuele appeared in Bond Court where bond was set at $1 million with 10% to apply. On November 2, 2016, Emanuele posted the necessary 10%, or $100,000, and was released from custody. Emanuele entered his plea in front of Judge Liam Brennan.

On May 3, 2016, the victim informed her host parents that she did not feel well enough to attend school that day and returned to her bedroom. At approximately 6:40 p.m. that day, she was found unresponsive and not breathing in her bed.



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The host parents immediately contacted the Glen Ellyn Police Department who led an investigation into the girl’s death. In the girl’s bedroom, investigators found an oral syringe with a small amount of a clear liquid and a prescription bottle with a small amount of clear liquid contained within. Lab tests identified the clear liquid as methadone.

The investigation ultimately led authorities to Emanuele as the person who not only supplied the fatal drug but also instructed the girl on how to ingest it.  The victim was introduced to Emanuele through another foreign exchange student who was living with Emanuele and his family.

“I would first like to extend my sincerest condolences to this young victim’s family and friends as they continue their struggle to come to terms with this tragic, senseless loss of such a young, promising life,” Berlin said. “Perhaps Mr. Emanuele’s guilty plea will help them in the healing process and provide some measure of closure. I would like to thank the Glen Ellyn and Downers Grove Police Departments for their outstanding work in naming Mr. Emanuele as the man responsible for supplying a fatal dose of methadone to a fifteen-year-old girl. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Demetri Demopoulos and Claudia Fantauzzo for their efforts in preparing a strong prosecution against Mr. Emanuele that ultimately led to today’s plea.”

Emanuele’s next court date is scheduled for December 17, 2018 for return of the pre-sentence report. He faces a penalty of between eight to thirty-five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

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His columns are archived here. Hanania was named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" by the New America Media in November 2007, and is the 2009 recipient of the SPJ National Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing.

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