Two charged in murder of Bartlett man who went missing a year ago

  • Keith K. Crawford

    Keith K. Crawford

  • Joan Sebastian Vado-Bonilla

    Joan Sebastian Vado-Bonilla

Updated 8/21/2015 5:18 PM

For over a year, Regina Myles held on to hope.

Hope that her only son, Keith K. Crawford, would come home to Bartlett.


Hope that the 36-year-old father of five, last seen leaving a party near West Dundee a year ago -- on Aug. 10, 2014 -- would someday, somehow, turn up safe and sound.

But hope turned to heartache Thursday night, when authorities contacted Myles to tell her that two men had been arrested and charged in connection with Crawford's robbery and murder.

"I never lost hope," Myles said Friday. "Being his mother, I kept the hope that maybe he was hiding or something. I always kept that hope he would show up back at home."

Authorities would not provide details about the crime Friday, including when and where Crawford was robbed and murdered. They also would not say if or where his body was found.

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Gary M. Bennett, 36, formerly of Algonquin and now of Denver, Colorado, has been charged with Crawford's murder, armed robbery and concealment of a homicide, according to prosecutors and court records.

He was arrested by members of the Kane County Major Crimes Task Force with help from Denver police in Denver Thursday, is being held on $5 million bail and is awaiting extradition to Illinois, Kane County prosecutors said.

Joan Sebastian Vado-Bonilla, 28, formerly of Lake in the Hills and now of the 2100 block of Marriott Drive, West Dundee, is charged with concealment of a homicide, a felony.

His bail was set Friday afternoon at $500,000, meaning he must post $50,000 to be released from the Kane County jail while the case is pending.

Kane County prosecutors said Crawford told his family on Aug. 9, 2014, he was going to the party. Crawford's family reported him missing after he failed to return home the next day.


Myles did not know if her son's remains were found either, and she did not want to elaborate on what police told her because she said the investigation was still ongoing.

"I am grateful that we have been about to get some answers for Keith Crawford's family," said West Dundee Police Chief Andy Wieteska in a prepared statement. "They have been waiting for a long time. We have put thousands of man-hours into what has been an exhaustive investigation, and we continue to work on this case."

Anyone with information about Crawford's murder or disappearance may call West Dundee police at (847) 551-3810 or email Anonymous tips can be made by calling (847) 586-5600.

Myles said her son was self-employed, restoring cars from the engine to the upholstery.

Myles said her son had five children, ages 2 through 15.

"He was a kind man," said Myles, who moved out of Bartlett after Crawford's disappearance because she was scared for her safety. "My heart is so heavy. I've been waiting a whole year to find out what I know now."

Bennett faces between 20 and 60 years in prison if convicted of Crawford's murder.

Vado-Bonilla faces anywhere from probation to five years in prison if convicted of concealment of a homicide. He is next due in court on Thursday.

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