What Did Lacey Gaines’ Former Boss Know?
Lacey Gaines was murdered December 7, 2009 in Justice, Illinois. That much we know. What else is there? She was abused by her ex-boyfriend and the father of her son Conor, Daniel Sanchez. She said he smashed her head through a wall at least once. We know she worked at the Kingsberry Waffle House in Flossmor, Ill. where she made friends and confided in some about not only her abuse, but her relationship with restaurant manager Jimmy Mantas. From the Desplaines Valley News in December 2009, written by James Pluta (who I owe a phone call too! I promise to get to that this week):
Gaines, a single mother, worked three jobs — including as a waitress/hostess for the past two years at Kingsberry Waffle House in Flossmoor, which she quit earlier this year. She earned money to raise her son, pay off a car loan and a mortgage for a house her parents bought in Steger that she and her son shared briefly with the child’s father.
Jimmy Mantas, her manager at the waffle restaurant, called her untimely death a “tragedy” and “traumatic” for those that knew and loved her.
The question is, was it Jimmy Mantas or Jimmy Chiagkouras? Based on information Lacey’s aunt was given, “Lacey may have been trying to avoid a bad reference having been fired by Chris (one of the managers). She knew Jimmy’s last name wasn’t Mantas. Johnathon Mantas is the owner of Kingsberry. The persons calling to check Lacey’s references would have gotten James Chiagkouras. He had to have agreed to pretend to be Jimmy Mantas. So what you might say? Well, whichever Jimmy it was, one of them may have information detectives need. One of the waitresses that worked with Lacey and was a good friend of hers said this about their Waffle House experience.
For Jimmy, I do know that if he had nothing to do with it (Lacey’s death) he probably has a lot of information. He needs to be interviewed or whatever. My brother is actually best friends with Rosa’s son’s girlfriend’s brother. (Rosa is Rosa Esparza). Rosa became a mother at a very young age. Her and Jimmy been together for a long time although she would complain he would never commit. I know she was very upset when she came to find out that Jimmy had been paying for some of Lacey’s bills. And Lacey had babysat a few times for Rosa. I also know Rosa was friends with a lot of gang members. The Latin Kings to be exact. Rosa was a little crazy and I know her and Lacey had gotten into an argument before Lacey stopped working at Kingsberry. I quit Kingsberry in fear. Jimmy wasn’t the same after Lacey’s death. I even came to find out he was using a fake last name. After her death he started cutting my days and hours at work. He acted like a total different person. Many rumored about him and Lacey having an affair but I never knew if there was any truth to it. I do know they talked a lot of the phone and Jimmy helped her find the apartment at Sunset which he lived within 5 minutes from. When she had no transportation he would drive her to and from work. Lacey bragged about all of Jimmy’s help. The argument between Rosa and Lacey I heard it was due to Rosa finding out about Jimmy paying her bills all while Rosa’s electric or gas had been turned off. Mind you Rosa would come in at least a few times a week for free food and meals for her and her family. After Lacey’s death she didn’t come in for months. I thought that was odd. Whoever killed Lacey was someone Lacey felt comfortable enough with to let into her home willingly while she was alone. She was scared to death to be with Daniel (Sanchez) alone so I have a strong feeling it wasn’t him whom she let into her home. As bad as Daniel was to her I would love more than anything to see that man suffer, but I just don’t feel he was the one to kill her. I didn’t know much about Juan (Valadez, Lacy’s boyfriend at the time of her death) but Lacey did tell me how she had found out about him living a double life and she was having issues with his ex or another girlfriend. But again, this had to be someone she felt comfortable with. With all Lacey was going through with Daniel I don’t see her leaving her doors unlocked even while she was home. So I will say it until I’m blue in the face, this was someone she felt safe with.
Add to all of this a tip which was sent to lead Detective Robert Plotke in April, 2010:
• Lacey came into the Kingsberry restaurant 2 days before she was killed? Jimmy Chiagkouras said he hadn’t seen her to the police anytime recent but he had.
• After Lacey’s murder Rosa Esparza has stayed clear of the restaurant just until recently. Normally she is in there everyday Jimmy is so she can eat for free.
• Rosa Esparza said she knew Juan Valadez did it because Lacey said she was pregnant and Juan told her to abort it. She said Juan was living two lives, he had a wife and kids supposedly. Rosa was a heavy drug user.
• A Kingsberry worker has a strong gut feeling it was Jimmy Chiagkouras. Kingsberry boss Chris stated that Jimmy doesn’t care about anything anymore. Chris can’t figure out why Jimmy is running all the top girls out of there. Here’s the reason–he’s ridding all the girls that were close to Lacey.
• Jimmy Chiagkouras drives a 4 door white sedan, Lacey was working at Game Time at one point which Jimmy had gotten her in because Jonathan Mantas owns it.
Lacey’s website is http://www.LaceyGaines.com