Officer details day of Glenbard South exchange student's death at Downers Grove man's sentencing hearing

  • Francis Emanuele

    Francis Emanuele

Updated 2/21/2019 9:43 PM

In the winter of 2016, Francis Emanuele was in love with a 15-year-old Spanish foreign exchange student. And in the weeks and days before the 38-year-old Emanuele provided the girl with a fatal dose of methadone, he told her thousands of times.

He loved her so much, Glen Ellyn police Det. Kyle Duffie testified Thursday at Emanuele's sentencing hearing, that he even sent her a text telling her what to drink after taking the dose to numb the bitter aftertaste of the drug.


Emanuele pleaded guilty in early November to one felony count of drug-induced homicide and one felony count of indecent solicitation of a child. He faces from eight to 35 years in prison.

He originally faced additional charges of manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, aggravated criminal sex abuse of a child, grooming and three counts of possessing child pornography in the same case.

Duffie testified for three and a half hours Thursday to the "thousands" of messages on various apps and messaging platforms between Emanuele and the Glenbard South student from February 2016 and the early morning of May 3, 2016, when she died. The victim also kept notes in a journal labeled "It's Time to Start Living."

The conversations began flirty in nature and eventually turned sexually explicit with nude selfies being exchanged.

"They described a physical and sexual relationship," Duffie said. "They talked about how much they loved each other and spending time together."

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In late April, as the girl's time in the United States was winding down, the conversations turned to drugs and using Emanuele's methadone to help the girl fake a sick day so she could spend the day with him "cuddling."

On the morning she died, the now one-way conversation turned desperate -- hours after Emanuele coached her to "take 5 mL" of an unknown substance -- as the girl's cellphone rested on her pillow beside her head.

"Hey. Are you OK?" the first unanswered message said. "Hello," came the next, then a message just stating her name. Then there was a missed call from "Tony," the fake name the BMW mechanic used to chat with the girl.

Earlier that morning, the victim told her host parents in Glen Ellyn that she felt too ill to attend school and returned to her bedroom. About 6:40 p.m. that day, she was found unresponsive and not breathing in her bed.


The girl's host parents immediately called Glen Ellyn police, who led the investigation into her death. Duffie described contacting the victim's parents in Spain.

"They appeared shocked and saddened, as any parent would be," he said.

Duffie said police searching the girl's bedroom found an oral syringe with a small amount of a clear liquid and a prescription bottle with a small amount of clear liquid that later was determined to be methadone. Her death was later determined to be caused by "methadone intoxication."

Duffie said half the label of the prescription bottle had been removed, which he said was "odd." The missing part later was found in Emanuele's car. Emanuele had a valid prescription for the drug to battle his heroin addiction.

The girl apparently met Emanuele because she was friends with a Downers Grove South High School foreign exchange student who was living with Emanuele and his family. Duffie's testimony also revealed Thursday that Emanuele was having a sexual relationship with the student he was hosting as well.

The victim's family has filed a lawsuit seeking monetary damages, in addition to medical, funeral and burial costs from Francis Emanuele, his wife Daniella Emanuele, and the California-based Council for Educational Travel United States of America. The family was seated in the gallery for Thursday's hearing and listened to the proceedings through headphones broadcasting the interpreter's translation. The girl's host family was also present.

The hearing resumes at 10 a.m. Friday with Duffie expected to resume testimony before Judge Liam Brennan hears victim impact statements and the defense's mitigating factors and makes his decision.

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