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Chicago Area Man John Spira Still Missing, Family Still Hopeful

Updated on August 18, 2013

Missing Chicago Area Man John Spira

Missing Chicago area man John Spira.
Missing Chicago area man John Spira. | Source

John Spira Has Been Missing Since 2007

For residents of the western suburbs of Chicago, the name of John Spira is a familiar one. That’s because, for a long time, there was a huge banner sign bearing his name, giving his description and discussing the fact that he has been missing since February of 2007. Of course, now, that sign has been torn down, and the business that John owned and operated has been burned to the ground. He is still being sought by his family, his biggest champion being his sister, Stephanie, who lives in Arizona and still manages the website and other online methods she is using to search for her brother. Despite their best efforts, John’s family continues to be frustrated by the efforts of police, who still consider John’s case to be a missing persons case and not a murder.

John was a man who was larger than life. He ran a contracting business, doing construction work, for years in the nearby Chicago western suburbs in the county of DuPage. His business was successful, but he also had a passion for music. John was known as “Chicago Johnny” and he played blues music in and around various clubs in the Chicago area and suburbs. On the day that he went missing, he was 45-years-old. He had brown hair and blue eyes and weighed about 165 pounds and he stood five-feet-eight-inches tall.

For John’s family, the general lack of concern and response from authorities has fueled their continued frustration. The authorities have suggested that John may have killed himself. His family, however, says that this is ridiculous. If that were the case, why has no body been found? One investigator pointed out that someone who has committed suicide cannot bury or burn their body once the act has been completed. Also, why had he made plans the night he vanished if he just planned to take his own life later that same evening? Then again, very little makes much sense about John’s disappearance. The strange circumstances surrounding his vanishing have puzzled family and investigators for years. The lack of evidence and anything that authorities could use to further case and arrest someone has added to the frustration. It seems as if John Spira, also known as “Chicago Johnny” simply vanished from the face of the earth on February 23, 2007.

That day appeared to be a normal day for all involved in the life of John Spira. In fact, he had plans to meet up with a friend for dinner that night. It was a typical day at the office for John. Once the sun began to set, he left, making his way to his vehicle. He placed a call to the friend he was going to meet for dinner at 7:09 p.m. The plan was to meet up with that friend for dinner at 8:30 p.m. in the suburb of Oak Brook. His friend was there at the restaurant where they had planned to meet at that time. John was the type who usually showed up on time or early, and he never arrived. He never called. None of these were typical of John. The mystery of what happened to John Spira lies in what happened to him between the time he left his office and when he was supposed to meeting up with his friend for dinner.

One of the key figures in the vanishing of John Spira was his business partner, David Stubben. John and David ran the Universal Cable Construction company. He was the last person to see John alive. He told investigators that nothing strange had happened that night and that he had spoken to John, his partner for 20 years, that night in the parking lot of the construction company that they had operated for years. He told investigators that John had planned to head out for dinner and that he got into his car. The strange thing, however, is that John’s car never left the parking lot. It was still sitting there, right where it had been the entire day before, during the following days as his family and friends began to worry and sent out the alarm. Given the time frame involved, that means John must have vanished sometime between 7:10 p.m. and about 7:45 p.m.

Suspicion tends to lie with two people. It turned out that John and his wife were in the midst of a contentious divorce. It had been going on for some time, two years, on the day he vanished. That morning he two had just finalized an agreement that would have settled the divorce and divided up their property and goods. However, once John vanished his wife said that they had not yet reached an agreement and that nothing had been signed or filed that morning. She was also hesitant to file a missing persons report when it became obvious that John had disappeared and was not going to be showing up again anytime soon.

Also cast under a pall of suspicion was John’s business partner for 20 years, Stubben. Accusations that Stubben and John’s wife were more than just passing friends have been thrown about. Although Stubben was the last person to see John alive, he insists that John was still alive and well when he left the parking lot of the construction company. However, he has staunchly refused to take a lie detector test during that time since John vanished.

Strange things have continued to happen in and around John Spira and his disappearance. When his family erected their banner near the offices that John and Stubben used to run their business, the business itself was leveled in a fire. Nothing remained of the offices of UCC except charred pieces of debris. Then, not long after, the banner/billboard bearing John’s face was burned and destroyed, as well.

As for the police, they still staunchly refuse to acknowledge that John Spira is anything but a missing person. They refuse to turn the case into a murder investigation. They say they have no body. They have no evidence to support that John was murdered. Without that body, and without a declaration that John is dead, there is no reason to switch from a missing person to a murder investigation.

The DuPage County police say that the case is still open. In August of 2011, Stephanie McNeil, John’s sister, was back in Chicago handing out fliers on a Chicago street in hopes that someone might recognize John and be able to provide information. She wants the case to become a homicide investigation and get out of the realm of missing persons. She told the press that it has been a nightmare, every time the phone rings or a body is found in and around the Chicago area, she hopes that it is her brother and that, at last, her worries and concerns can be put to rest. So far, that is still just a dream and she is still searching.

Police acknowledge that someone made a phone call from John’s office after he had reportedly made his final phone call to his friend about meeting for diner. However, police say that they do not have any information, or leads, on who made that phone call or why.

Stephanie McNeil now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, but she makes a yearly trip back to the Chicago area. She says she will not rest until John is able to rest. She bristles when the police insist that it is still a missing persons case. She says she knew, from the moment she heard about it, that John was dead because John would not just vanish. She says John had too many things going for her to just up and vanish like that.

To add to the strangeness, in 2010, the ex-wife of John Spira, Suzanne, was found dead in her apartment in New York. John’s sister said to the press that she only learned about it when a friend of Suzanne mentioned it to her, and she did not learn it from the police. What Suzanne Spira may have known about her ex-husband’s death will never be known now. This is a thought that angers Stephanie McNeil, as is the way the DuPage County authorities have treated her and her family.

In 2011 McNeil filed a Freedom of Information Act appeal to get all of the records that DuPage County authorities have about her brother’s investigation. Despite the filing, DuPage authorities have refused to turn over the paperwork, insisting that it is part of an ongoing investigation. McNeil has taken the matter to court to try to get the information.

The frustrations and anger that McNeil feels still continues. So far, there is still no body. No one has been arrested in the case of John Spira. It remains a mystery.

There have been some recent developments in the story of John Spira. In recent days there have been renewed searches for his body by his sister and his family. As of today, nothing has been found or confirmed to be John.

Video of John Spira


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