Disappearance of John Favara
On March 18, 1980, 12-year-old Frank Gotti, the youngest son of John Gotti, darted into the street on a motorized minibike from behind a dumpster where he was struck by Favara's car and killed. Favara, 51, who lived a block behind the Gotti family, worked as a service department manager for a furniture store, Castro Convertibles in New Hyde Park, New York. He had been on his way home from work. His adopted son, Scott, was a friend of the Gotti children and had been their guest for sleepovers. He was a close childhood friend of Gambino crime family caporegime Ettore Zappi, a distant cousin of crime family patriarch Carlo Gambino. While Ettore pursued a life in organized crime, Favara remained in the legitimate world, but the two remained close.
Police found Favara was not to blame for the boy's death, which was officially ruled accidental, and no charges were ever filed against him. However, in the months after the accident, the word "Murderer" was spray-painted onto Favara's car. On May 28, Victoria Gotti, Frank's mother, attacked Favara with a metal baseball bat, sending him to the hospital. Favara decided not to press charges and planned to move out of Howard Beach.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), on July 28, 1980, before Favara and his family were able to move, he was shoved into a van by several men near his work. There were several witnesses to the abduction, and accounts ranged from him being beaten with a baseball bat, shot with a silenced .22 caliber pistol, or both. Accounts differ on what happened to Favara's body. One account says that while alive he was dismembered with a chainsaw and stuffed into a barrel filled with concrete and dumped in the ocean or buried on the chop shop lot somewhere. Favara's wife and two sons moved out of Howard Beach, having John declared legally dead in 1983. In November 2004, informants led the FBI to excavate a parking lot in New York City suspected to be a mob graveyard and the site of Favara's body. While two bodies were found, Favara's was not.
When questioned by two detectives on Favara's disappearance, John Gotti said: "I'm not sorry the guy's missing. I wouldn't be sorry if the guy turned up dead." His wife Victoria, when questioned said: "I don't know what happened to him, but I'm not disappointed he's missing. He killed my boy."
Previously prosecutors believed Favara's remains were stuffed in a barrel of concrete and tossed off a Sheepshead Bay pier, but Brooklyn federal court papers filed by federal prosecutors the week of January 5, 2009, contain allegations that mob hitman Charles Carneglia killed Favara and disposed of his body in acid.
Portrayal in popular media
Favara's murder is depicted in the 1996 HBO production Gotti. In the film, John Gotti, portrayed by Armand Assante, is shown pointedly admonishing underboss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano that his son's death was an accident and to "leave it alone". Upon learning of his identity, Gravano is shown beating and shooting Favara in a pedestrian underpass, then fleeing.
Notes and references
- Goldberg, Jeffrey. The Don Is Done, The New York Times, January 31, 1999. Accessed August 29, 2008.
- The Tragedy of Frank Gotti Accessed May 23, 2006
- Feds Search 'Mafia Graveyard' in New York Accessed May 23, 2006
- Capeci, Jerry (2005-02-03). "Massino's Tips Lead the FBI To Dig Deep". New York Sun. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
- Gotti Hit Of 'Acid': Son's Killer In Vat Accessed January 8, 2009
- Documents: Mob target took acid bath Accessed January 8, 2009