US Marshals Top 15 Most Wanted On The Run After Allegedly Killing Attorney In Illinois
John Panaligan stands 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds when he vanished. Panaligan is a US Marshals Top 15 Most Wanted. He has close ties to Colorado, Illinois and Arizona. If you know where he's hiding out, please call our hotline. Host John Walsh guarantees you can remain anonymous: 833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).
On December 7, 2016, Victor Jigar Patel's wife Mary said her husband didn't show up to pick up their two young children at daycare. The successful 36-year-old attorney, who had an office in Northbrook, IL, often worked pro bono, and was always in touch with his wife. She said his young children were the highest priority.
Mary said she knew on that cold December day something was seriously wrong, and at first she thought maybe there was a medical emergency. It wasn't until Mary arrived at the local police department that she realized the situation was much worse than she ever could have imagined. Her husband had been murdered. Investigators say he was strangled to death in the middle of the day in his busy office building.
Detectives were curious about any enemies or difficult cases he was working at the time, including people he knew. Mary gave them everything she could think of, including telling detectives Victor as a litigator did not generally work with dangerous criminals.
It was later revealed though through intense investigation that Victor was representing plaintiffs in a home health care business suit, a lengthy lawsuit that dragged out for more than 8 years. Only one week prior, Victor had a big positive ruling in the case, which was a win for his firm. The defendant was a man by the name of John Panaligan. He was accused of allegedly stealing from his clients, inventors and was accused of fraud, tax evasion and not being truthful with those he was in business with.
When detectives uncovered surveillance inside the building where Victor was killed, they discovered a person dressed in a disguise walking in. The suspect was wearing a long trench coat of sorts, a scarf and was walking with a cane. The person was inside for an hour before leaving. It is believed the suspect made an appointment and then allegedly killed Victor before casually walking out of the front of the building.
Authorities were soon able to piece together that the man in the disguise was in fact defendant John Panaligan. According to Victor's colleague, he filed a motion for sanctions against Panaligan's attorney right before his death. Jigar was also awarded money from the court.
Investigators were initially on Panaligan's trail and learned that the suspect drove to the Canadian border where he was not only stopped, but was also detained. There was a gun located in Panaligan's air filter, cops said and he had to pay a fine. Investigators said Panaligan was charged with attempting to smuggle a gun across the border, but paid a Canadian fine and was released. In a US Marshals press release, investigators said, “He was eventually allowed to return to the U.S. where he was interviewed by Northbrook Police in relation to Patel’s death. During the investigation, authorities executed multiple search warrants of Panaligan’s belongings and property.”
Panaligan was set free and then spotted only once more at a bank in Aurora, IL in January 2017. He was taking out a large sum of money, investigators said. Only one month later, in February 2017, US Marshals said there was a warrant for his arrest. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
Mary, who is now left to raise their children alone, said this about her husband, "He left a mark on me that will never go away... he was charismatic, he was funny, he was intelligent... he was honest, he was transparent, he was stubborn as hell... but he was my protector."
As for Panaligan, he is very small in size, standing only 5 feet 5 inches tall and at one point when investigators made contact with him, they say he was soft spoken.
In January 2018, Panaligan was arrested in Mexico, but by the time the dots connected, Panaligan was released and not rearrested. He was last known to be in Durango, Mexico. It's possible Panaligan was trying to make his way to the Philippines where he has strong family ties.
If you know where he's hiding out, please call our hotline. Host John Walsh guarantees you can remain anonymous: 833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).
SEX: Male, Asian descent
Location of crime: Northbrook, IL
Date of crime: December 7, 2016
DOB: October 20, 1966
Possible areas where suspect could be hiding: It is believed Panaligan fled to Mexico and maybe to the Philippines
ALIASES: Cabrera, Reynaldo
CHARACTERISTICS: He has dual citizenship between the U.S. and the Republic of the Philippines
Read more: WBBM, US Marshals