By Peter Bella
Anthony Catalano was last seen on video surveillance cameras leaving his condo building at 8747 w. Bryn Mawr. He drove off in his Mercedes Benz and vanished. His family filed a missing person report with the Chicago Police Department. The date was March 25, 2009.
Days later, his Mercedes Benz was found parked on a street near the building. It was so clean there was not even one fingerprint or other shred of evidence to be found. It is alleged the car was meticulously cleaned, returned, and parked on the street to avoid security cameras picking up the driver. Why the car was returned is a mystery.
Anthony Catalano was in a dangerous business, the drug business. It is alleged he had ties to Chicago Outfit, Chicago's organized crime group.
There are no friends in the drug business. There are no friends in the Outfit. You are here today. Gone tomorrow. No explanation. It is business. Business is business. Money is money. People are expendable.
On December 23, 2009, Michael DeFilippis was murdered. He was found in his condo at Grand and Harlem. His head was caved in and he was stabbed several times. There was no forced entry, signs of a theft, burglary, or home invasion.
Everything was neat, clean, and tidy. Just a dead body and a dinner table set for two or three, depending on whose version of the tale is believed.
Michael DeFilippis was a friend of Anthony Catalano and Catalano's partner in the drug business.
DeFilippis was also allegedly associated with the Outfit.
DeFilippis and Catalano may have been involved with another nefarious character with alleged mob ties. He was given the nom de plumes, Dr. Millionpills and Dr. Numb-it-all.
Like the disappearance of Anthony Catalano, the murder of DeFilippis was never solved. The DeFilippis family knows what happened to their loved one. They had remains to mourn over and bury.
The Catalano family has no idea what happened to Anthony. They can only hypothesize and keep dwindling hope alive.
The Outfit adage, and by extension those associated with it is, "No one knows what happened to or who killed so-and-so, no one cares, so don't ask."
Anthony R. Catalano's relatives want to know what happened to him. They care. They are asking. Their questions have fallen on deaf ears. They received no answers from the Chicago Police Department, D.E.A., or F.B.I. Friends or family members in law enforcement hit dead ends or were allegedly ordered to stop asking questions, or else.
The cast of characters involved with Catalano and rumored to be involved with his business, social life, and disappearance reads like a roster of notable gangsters' grandchildren. There were ex-cops with South Side Outfit ties who used to be in the drug and chop shop businesses. A family member allegedly laundered much of the drug money. He supposedly got greedy, and was accused of stealing by the missing man.
Catalano and DeFilippis supposedly had drug connections in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Florida. That would indicate the cartels or meth distributors. Some claim Catalano had his own drug problem. He was getting out of control. Anthony was becoming the problem.
All of this is circumstantial. Some of it is speculative. A few accounts border on conspiracy theories. There is no solid proof or evidence the various characters involved had anything to do with the disappearance of Catalano or the murder of DeFilippis.
This month, after seven years, the family can petition to claim Anthony Catalano legally dead. They want answers. They want closure.
Anthony Catalano, from all descriptions, was no saint. He was a bad guy in a bad business with bad people.
Anthony Catalano was also a son, brother, cousin, and close friend. There are people who love him. These people want answers, not dead ends, closed doors, and the sound of silence.
Someone knows what happened to Anthony R. Catalano. In law enforcement or on the streets.
The Catalano family is not looking for justice. They are not looking for revenge. They just want to know what happened. The Catalano family, at the very least, deserves that much.
NOTE: The Chicago Outfit was responsible for over one thousand unsolved murders and disappearances since its founding during prohibition. This story is the result of communication with a member of the family who wants to remain anonymous. There was internet and public records research. As mentioned in the piece, the people alleged to be involved in Anthony Catalano's life, business, disappearance and investigation are numerous, some notorious. The names were made available to me. They were withheld due to the circumstantial, speculative, and sometimes conspiratorial nature of their involvement. —PVB