ST. LOUIS — A former Chicago-area man will serve life in prison for kidnapping an Illinois woman and her 5-year-old son who were later killed.
Leobardo Barraza was sentenced in federal court in St. Louis on Wednesday for kidnapping resulting in death, in the 1998 killings of Maria Eloiza and her son Jesus Ramirez of Prospect Heights.
Eloiza told a friend she was going to Mexico with Barazza to pick up drugs to transport to Detroit.
Barraza, now 26, suggested they take her son to make them look like a traveling family. She was to be paid $40,000 for her help getting the drugs across the border. Witnesses at trial said Barraza told them he and his friend, Jose Hernandez, took the two to a park near St. Louis, where they were killed. Hunters found their remains later that year in Stanton.
U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway says Hernandez is a co-defendant in the case, but considered a federal fugitive. He was indicted but has not stood trial.