Before the accident, there was a time when the Gotti family and the Favara family would visit each other, and the children would play together in the backyard lots adjacent to their homes in Howard Beach, Queens.
Victoria Gotti would often chat with Janet Favara, the wife of a Long Island furniture manager, John Favara. The cordiality ended March 18, 1980.
Frank Gotti borrowed a friends motorized mini-bike and took a ride around his Howard Beach neighborhood. At the same time, John Favara was on his way home from work. Favaras house was on 86th Street, directly behind the Gotti home on 85th Street. Favaras adopted son, Scott, was a friend of Gottis son, John, and had enjoyed sleepovers in the Gotti home. With the sun going down in the late afternoon, young Frank Gotti and the 51 year-old Favara were about to have the proverbial appointment with destiny. In Mobstar, Jerry Capeci and Gene Mustain describe what happened next:
On 157th Avenue, near 87th, a house was under renovation. A dumpster had been placed in the street to collect the debris. It was on Favaras right. Favara did not notice the boy on the mini-bike dash into the street from the other side of the dumpster, and his car struck and killed Frank Gotti.
Favara dragged the boy's body about 200 feet, and was forced to stop by witnesses. He got out of his car screaming, blaming the boy for being in the street. Someone told him that it was Gotti's son, and he quieted down.
The fate of John Favara has remained the most prominent unsolved mystery from the bloody career of Gotti, who was only a captain in the Gambino family at the time.
The Gottis were crushed by their son's death. Victoria Gotti, the boy's mother, would reportedly walk out to the local baseball fields late at night in the hope she would find her son alive.
When John Favara tried to apologise to her, she attacked him with a baseball bat. He ignored advice to move away only to disappear after leaving work one day.
The Gottis proved to police they were in Florida at the time and no arrests were ever made. The police were reportedly later told that Gotti dismembered Favara himself with a chainsaw when he returned from Florida.
Frank Gotti's funeral was heavily attended by friends. Favara was advised by a local priest not to make an appearance. FBI agents, who normally held surveillance at wakes and funerals, stayed away out of respect for the death of a child.
Two days after the accident, a woman called the 106th Precinct house and said, The driver of the car that killed Frank Gotti will be eliminated. That same day, Favara received a death threat in the mail. On March 23, a detective visited the Favara home to warn him about the phone threat.
On April 13, Favaras car, which had not been repaired, was stolen. It was recovered less than a mile from his home on May 1. Nineteen days later, a funeral card from the services for Frank Gotti was left in Favaras mailbox. The following day a picture of Frank Gotti was placed in the mailbox. The next day, May 22, the word Murderer was spray-painted on the Favara automobile. Favara had been a childhood friend of Anthony Zappi, whose father, Ettore, had been a capo in the Gambino Family. Favara went to Anthony Zappi for advice. Zappi told Favara to move out of the neighborhood and get rid of his automobile, because Victoria became enraged every time she saw it.
On July 28, three days before he was to close on the sale of his house, Favara was abducted while leaving work. Several people watched as Favara was clubbed over the head and thrown into a van. He and his car were never seen again. A diner owner who witnessed the attack and described it to police soon received a visit from three hulking hoods who sat silently for fifteen minutes staring at him. The diner owner avoided the police, sold his business and moved away. John and Victoria had conveniently been in Florida, when the abduction took place.
Janet Favara died in 2001, at age 70, after suffering for two decades from health problems and a troubled mind, the family member said.
Scott Favara, 42, is married and works different jobs in Bellmore, Long Island. He could not be reached for comment. Since the grisly accounts of his father's death were first reported in newspapers, Mr. Favara has refused to watch television programs and movies that contain excessive violence, the family member said.