Slain Teen's Father: 'I Saw a Cloth. I Didn't Know That Was My Daughter'

By DNAinfo Staff on February 17, 2013 7:57pm  | Updated on February 18, 2013 8:57am

 Frances Colon was fatally shot in the back Friday night in the 1100 block of North Pulaski Road.
Frances Colon was fatally shot in the back Friday night in the 1100 block of North Pulaski Road.
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LOGAN SQUARE — The day after Frances Colon was shot to death, her parents had no clue where she was.

But on Friday, the night she died, her father had driven by her dead body without realizing it.

"I had just picked up my other daughter from her friend's, and I was stopped at a light and saw blue flashing lights," said her father, Jose Colon. "I said, 'There are a lot of shootings in this area. You have to be careful.' I saw a cloth. I didn't know that was my daughter."

Frances was found in the 1100 block of North Pulaski Road with a fatal gunshot wound to her back around 7 p.m. Friday, police said.

Police said they do not believe Frances was the intended target.

Frances, 18, had been at a nearby store during an argument between two men, her father said, based on conversations he said he had with store workers.

She was shot after stepping out of the store, he said.

Though her father said he saw a cloth over the body at the scene, authorities said the girl was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital. She was pronounced dead there at 8:16 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Dorothy Payton, Frances' mother, said her daughter sometimes stayed out overnight, but always called when she did. When family hadn't heard from Frances for nearly a day, Payton said she began to worry.

She eventually learned of her daughter's death when police officers came to the teen's grandmother's house, not too far from where she was shot.

"She got killed right down the street from my mom's house," Payton said.

A senior at Roberto Clemente High School, Frances was an honors student who was college-bound and ambitious, family said.

She was the third Clemente student to be killed in the last three months. In December, Jeffrey Stewart, 16, was slain on the same block as Frances.

Rey Dorantes, 14, was shot dead in January. 

As someone who grew up watching "Judge Judy" and "Law & Order," Frances dreamed of becoming a lawyer, her family said.

"Her favorite thing to say was 'prove it,' " said older sister Lalorri Thomas, 24.

Family members said that Frances, the seventh of eight siblings, was going to attain her dreams, and they'd be there to support her.

"'Mama, I wanna be a lawyer,' she would say to me," Payton said. "I don't care what I have to do to achieve that dream. I'd take six jobs to pay for her books in college if I have to."

Payton said her daughter was also creative, stitching together new clothes out of old pillow cases, and cooking up delicious food with strange combinations.

"She would put ramen, cheese and meat together," said younger sister Selena Colon, 16. "It always turned out good!"

Last week, she watched two significant events on television with her father: the State of the Union address, where slain Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton's parents sat next to Michelle Obama, and President Barack Obama's speech in Chicago, which touched on gun violence, Friday.

After Friday's event, hours before her death, France heard helicopters above their home, and was convinced it was President Obama headed out of town. Since Obama left Chicago Friday, two CPS students have been slain — Frances and 17-year-old Oscar Marquez, a student at Marine Math and Science Academy.

"I was hoping the thing he is trying to do with guns works," Jose Colon said.

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