What Did Lacey Gaines’ Former Boss Know?

Lacey and her son Conor the year she died.

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


Posted on December 14, 2011, in Cold Cases, Crime, Domestic Violence, Lacey Gaines, Murder and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/fugitives/ct-met-fugitives-fbi-memo-20111123,0,2959479.story

    There was a rumor on a Yahoo apartment review which said a maintenance man killed Lacey. Word was the Justice police knew who killed Lacey, buy they couldn’t prosecute as one suspect had fled to Mexico. The DA didn’t feel they had enough to convict. Sadly Lacey case sounds like it received similar treatment as the one spoken about in this article.

    I would encourage readers to write to the reporters and see if they could possibly look into Lacey’s case and see if her is in deed one of the case which has fallen between the cracks of the justice system.



  2. An Intuitive weighs in

    An Intuitive weighs in on Lacey’s case last March 2010


    I read Lacey story today. and I usually refrain from doing so because many times I receive messages and really don’t want them. But, I will share with you what is being shared with me from the other side. Please feel free to do with the info as you wish. but I have one request, I ask you not share who you received this from. May help in your investigation. I am a very private person, even though I use my gifts everyday. This kind of work is too hard for me to do for everyone. The Lord knows I have a heavy heart and have great trouble not releasing the pain from my life.

    Here it is: there were two men that came over that day to your nieces home. I think only one went in the home, they are associated with a gang in America, very connected in fact. Look for another man, his name starts with a T, or his nick name starts with a T, short stocky guy with some facial hair. They are in close proximity to the area. but are transients and move around a lot. They associate with a young woman with tats on her arms and one across her neck, her name starts with a c, maybe Cindy, there again, not called by her real name.

    They are tough cookies. be careful, I don’t feel danger around you, just really mad that you keep tracking them. This girl knows things, look for her. hope this help. love and light.


    Interesting little known fact – Two Hispanic girls came to Lacey’s wake they said they were from the Sunset apt complex, – a stocky hispanic male in sunglasses – waited at door for the girls (all three were unknown to the family). Was this man “Gino” the maintenance man? The Gino is referred to in the mysterious letter. and has been described as a husky Hispanic male who wears glasses.

  3. Lacey old boss James Chiagkouris of Kingsberry Waffle House, Flossmoor, IL also PSC (Prairie State College) Asst Soccer coach: http://prairiestate.edu/athletics/soccerm/coach.html#chiagkouris

    Allegedly Jimmy took Lacey to the Special Season Fire Soccer Team Kick Off:

    Photo’s which Jimmy reportedly took at 11th Annual Fire Works For Kids Foundation Season Kickoff Luncheon on Tuesday, March 24, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel: https://picasaweb.google.com/112434618696067368568/JamesChiagkouris?authuser=0&feat=directlink

    His long time girlfriend Rosa Esparza aka Rosa Elizalde reportedly from TX. May have once been in the armed services.

    Jimmy Chiagkouris lived just 6 miles away from Lacey’s Apt. He bought home in Aug 2009 http://chicago.blockshopper.com/property/19191010770000/7039_w_63rd/

    He does not live with Rosa in Blue Island, Rosa’s son Mo calls him Dad.

    These are only reported rumors made by various friends of Lacey’s, Juan’s, Jimmy’s, and Rosa’s:

    Reportedly Jimmy helped pay Lacey’s bills when she needed it and Lacey babysat Rosa’s son a few times. His girlfriend Rosa didnt care for Lacey very much and reportedly said Rosa would get pissed when Lacey was with Jimmy. Reportedly JImmy was always there for Lacey. Reportedly friends found it very odd how Jimmy would cling onto Lacey, like he did.

    Lacey was reportedly seen coming into the Kingsberry Restaurant the Weds and Fri before her murder. She allegedly confided in a friend there, she thought she was pregnant. She was seen crying and upset talking to her manager James Chiagkouris. Yet Jimmy reportedly said he hadn’t seen her, to the police, anytime recent, but he did.

    After Lacey’s death reportedly Jimmy began to fire girls who were close to Lacey. Keeping on only those who were new or older and not close to Lacey.

    After Lacey was murdered Rosa told many people Juan had a secret life and had a wife and baby.

  4. Jimmy helped find her that apartment. Jimmy had been helping her with bills too and Lacey stated that if it wasn’t for Jimmy she didn’t know what she would of done. Jimmy was the one who persuaded her to get an apartment. Justice and Bridgeview are next door to one another. Jimmy lived minutes from her. A lot of secretive things were occurring between the both of them. When she would come into the restaurant after she was fired she would sit by the register and talk to Jimmy for long periods of time and it was always quietly. She came in days before she was killed and Jimmy had stated he hadn’t talked with her anytime recently. The police need to question Jimmy and Rosa.

  1. Pingback: Timeline of events – Just the Facts | Who Murdered Lacey Gaines

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