Sentencing set for Downers Grove man in student's drug death

  • Francis Emanuele

    Francis Emanuele

Updated 12/17/2018 4:31 PM

A 38-year-old Downers Grove man who faces eight to 35 years in prison for giving a fatal dose of methadone to a 15-year-old foreign exchange student from Spain will learn his fate in February.

DuPage County Judge Liam Brennan set a Feb. 21 sentencing date for Francis Emanuele, of the 6000 block of Carpenter Street. The sentencing hearing is expected to continue into Feb. 22.


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 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.

On May 3, 2016, 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.

Authorities 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.

Prosecutors said half the label of the prescription bottle had been removed and the missing part later was found in Emanuele's car. Emanuele had a valid prescription for the drug.

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Authorities say Emanuele not only supplied the girl with the drug but also taught her how to ingest it.

The girl apparently met Emanuele because she was friends with another foreign exchange student who was living with Emanuele and his family.

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 lawsuit alleges Daniella Emanuele was negligent for leaving the girl in the care of her husband who "had the propensity to act in a negligent, violent and sexually explicit manner toward minor children, including (the victim)."

The suit also alleges the Council for Educational Travel had the duty to "supervise, maintain and monitor the condition" of the Emanuele's home as well as their conduct.

A judge recently denied the council's motion to dismiss the suit. That is suit is next scheduled to be heard on Feb. 5.

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