Attorney found dead in Northbrook office in village’s 1st homicide since 2009

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NORTHBROOK -- Police are searching for answers in the killing of 36-year-old real estate attorney Jigar Patel, who was found strangled to death in his office Wednesday.

Northbrook Police Chief Charles Wernick says “everything is on the table” as 40 detectives and officers search for a killer and a motive in the case.

“I want to reassure the community – and this is important – that this was not a random act, from everything we can tell at this point, that it was a targeted incident,” Wernick said.

After the father of two didn't come home Wednesday night, his wife asked police to visit his third floor office for a “well-being” check. Police found him deceased on the floor of the office. Patel was last seen alive by his secretary at about 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, police said.

Now, the Northbrook Police and the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force are working the village’s first homicide in seven years. Police will be examining forensic evidence, interviewing potential witnesses, and looking into Patel's background and business dealing, Wernick said. A forensic unit was still at Patel’s office Saturday.

The building also has surveillance cameras, and one aspect of the investigation involves interviewing everyone who was in the building that day.

"It’s a matter of running down everybody who came into the building, which will take some time," Wernick said.

According to the law firm’s web site, he had “a decade of legal experience” in business law, real estate, and commercial litigation. Patel’s LinkedIn profile says he earned a law degree from Depaul in 2006, and a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from UIC in 2002.

Patel lived in Prospect Heights with his wife and two young daughters. His family asked for privacy through the police department.

So far no one has been arrested in connection with the killing.



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