Prosecutors say a Round Lake Beach man has been charged with fatally shooting a Round Lake man 11 times during a “brutal gang execution” in a forest preserve in DuPage County.
Francisco Maldonado, 31, of the 500 block of West Golfview Drive in Round Lake Beach, was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree murder.
The charge was in connection to the murder of Francisco Zavala, 26, of Round Lake.
Zavala was last seen on January 29 after being dropped off at Metro by T-Mobile, 458 North Cedar Lake Road in Round Lake, according to his family.
He had intended to travel by train to Indiana to visit a woman after being dropped off at the phone store by his mother.
His family had not seen or heard from him after he was dropped off at the Metro store and they filed a police report with the Round Lake Park Police Department on February 7.
Round Lake Park police said that surveillance video from the Round Lake train station showed Zavala boarding a Metra train headed for Chicago at 10:54 a.m. on January 29.
DuPage Assistant State’s Attorney Nicole Wilkes-English said during a bond hearing Saturday that a resident called police on the evening of January 29 to report hearing gunshots on Munger Road in Wayne, the Daily Herald reported.
Police found droplets of blood in the snow but did not find a body or anyone injured, Wilkes-English said.
Police were called again on March 3 after someone from a nearby horse stable reported finding a deceased male in the Pratt’s Wayne Woods Forest Preserve in Wayne, the forest preserve police previously said.
Officers found the body, which was identified as Zavala, less than 30 feet from the side of the road and fresh tire tracks nearby.
Zavala’s cellphone was near his body and detectives determined it had been in several towns, including Grayslake, Round Lake, Mundelein, Elgin, South Elgin, West Chicago and Wayne, on January 29, Wilkes-English said.
Surveillance footage helped investigators link a pickup truck to the places where Zavala’s cellphone had pinged, the Daily Herald reported.
On Thursday, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and DuPage MERIT Major Crimes Unit executed a search warrant in the 1400 block of North Chapel Hill Road in McHenry.
Investigators seized the pickup truck during the warrant. Fire department sonar crews also searched Diamond Lake in Mundelein for evidence Thursday morning.
Wilkes-English said that Maldonado and Zavala were both in the same gang and had a dispute that led to the murder.
A member of their gang lured Zavala out of the pickup truck on January 29 and Maldonado and the unidentified gang member shot Zavala 11 times, Wilkes-English said. “This is a brutal gang execution that occurred near residential homes in Wayne.”
“To the family and friends of Francisco Zavala, I offer my condolences on their tragic loss,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement.
“It is my hope that knowing charges have been filed against the individual accused of murdering Francisco Zavala will provide some peace of mind to Mr. Zavala’s family,” DuPage Forest Preserve District Police Chief Dave Pederson said.
“I thank DuPage County MERIT and our officers for their hard work on this case. I also thank State’s Attorney Berlin and his office for their legal guidance throughout the investigation,” Pederson said.
Maldonado remains held in the DuPage County Jail on a $1 million bond and is scheduled to appear in court again on May 2. He would need to post 10% to be released.