15-year-old student dies after man gives her a lethal dose of methadone and sexually abuses her

38-year-old Francis Emmanuele faces up to 35 years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to one count of drug-induced homicide and one count of indecent solicitation of a child


                            15-year-old student dies after man gives her a lethal dose of methadone and sexually abuses her

A Downers Grove, Illinois man pleaded guilty to supplying a fatal dose of methadone to a 15-year-old foreign exchange student from Spain as well as sexually abusing her. Methodone is an opioid commonly used for opioid maintenance therapy to help with tapering in people with a dependence on the substance.

According to a press release from DuPage County State's Attorney Robert B. Berlin, 38-year-old Francis Emmanuele of 6140 Carpenter Street appeared in court to enter a guilty plea to one count of Drug-Induced Homicide, a Class X Felony; and one count of Indecent Solicitation of a Child — Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, a Class 3 Felony.

Francis faces up to 35 years behind bars (Source: DuPage County State's Attorney Office)
Francis faces up to 35 years behind bars (Source: DuPage County State's Attorney Office)

The unnamed victim informed her parents that she did not feel well enough to attend school on May 3, 2016, and subsequently returned to her bedroom. At around 6:40 pm that evening, she was found not breathing and unresponsive in her bed.

The host parents immediately contacted the Glen Ellyn Police Department who opened an investigation into her death, with detectives finding an oral syringe with a small amount of a clear liquid, as well as a prescription bottle with a small amount of clear liquid in the room.

Lab tests later confirmed that the liquid they had discovered was methadone, and investigators managed to track the supply to Emmanuele. He had been introduced to the student through another foreign exchange student who was living with him and his family and the 38-year-old had reportedly not only supplied the fatal drug but also instructed the girl how to use it. 

A $1 million warrant for Emmanuele's arrest was issued on October 25, 2016, following which he turned himself in. He appeared at the Bond Court where bond was set at $1 million with 10% to apply and, on November 2, 2016, the 38-year-old posted the necessary 10%, or $100,000, and was released from custody.  

Addressing the most recent guilty plea, Berlin said, "I would first like to extend my sincerest condolences to this young victim’s family and friends as they continue their struggle to come to terms with this tragic, senseless loss of such a young, promising life."

"Perhaps Mr. Emanuele’s guilty plea will help them in the healing process and provide some measure of closure," he continued. "I would like to thank the Glen Ellyn and Downers Grove Police Departments for their outstanding work in naming Mr. Emanuele as the man responsible for supplying a fatal dose of methadone to a fifteen-year-old girl. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Demetri Demopoulos and Claudia Fantauzzo for their efforts in preparing a strong prosecution against Mr. Emanuele that ultimately led to today’s plea."

Emmanuele is scheduled to next appear in court on December 17 for the return of the pre-sentence report. He faces a possible eight to thirty-five years in the Ilinois Department of Corrections.