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Crime

Illinois Man Dragged to Death Over iPhone was Devoted Father with ‘Kind and Gentle Soul,’ Friend says

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Trinidad ‘Javier’ Bueno-Sanchez.
GoFundMe

The Illinois father allegedly killed when he was dragged by a car after an alleged robbery attempt was a kind family man, his friends tell PEOPLE.

He was such a kind and gentle soul,” Tina Rompala says of longtime friend, 43-year-old Trinidad ‘Javier’ Bueno-Sanchez, a father of seven. “He was big on family dinners, family vacations, spending time with the family. Just a very loving man.”

On Monday, Bueno-Sanchez died of head trauma he suffered from an April 24 incident, when he was dragged by a car being driven by a group of teens to whom he was trying to sell his iPhone 6.

Courtney Sherman, 18, and two 17-year-old girls were arrested and charged with reckless homicide and robbery. It was not immediately clear if they had entered pleas or retained counsel.

Police said Bueno-Sanchez met the suspects, along with three other teen girls, on April 24 after agreeing to sell his phone to them. But the suspects allegedly tried to give the man less money than they’d agreed on before attempting to drive away, which resulted in the man getting dragged by one of the suspects’ cars and suffering a fatal head injury.

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Rompala, who taught two of Bueno-Sanchez’s daughters in school, says Bueno-Sanchez always put his family first.

“Whether it be sports, academics —his 12 year old daughter was in orchestra— he would go to any concerts she was in at school. He would volunteer at his youngest son’s elementary school,” she recalls. “He was very involved with his children.”

On Thursday, a private funeral was held for Bueno-Sanchez. Rompala says the wife and children, who range and age from 6 to 27 years old, are “doing the best they can.”

This is a really unexpected tragedy that happened, and it’s one day at a time, one foot in front of the other and getting through,” she says.

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Police said Bueno-Sanchez met the suspects, as well as two 16-year-old girls, in a public place after posting his phone for sale on a buying and selling app called OfferUp.

ABC7 Chicago reported that Bueno-Sanchez and one of the girls whom he spoke to agreed on a price of $450. But when the girl handed Bueno-Sanchez an envelope containing the cash payment, police say he allegedly realized it was “only a fraction of the agreed upon price.”

While Bueno-Sanchez was leaning into the car with the suspects inside, the 17-year-old driver allegedly accelerated unexpectedly. Bueno-Sanchez was dragged before detaching from the vehicle and hitting his head on the pavement.

The suspects allegedly fled the scene. Bueno-Sanchez, who police say did everything right to ensure a safe sale, died three days later. The coroner ruled his death a homicide caused by head trauma.

Round Lake Beach Police Department

Police told the Chicago Tribune that officials initially didn’t know the seriousness of Bueno-Sanchez’s injuries when they arrived at the scene to find the man responsive on the ground.

However, he was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he died.

Rampala founded a GoFundMe page that covered the cost of Bueno-Sanchez’s medical expenses and funeral.