John Favara (March 4, 1929 – disappeared July 28, 1980, later declared dead in 1983) was the backyard neighbor of Gambino crime family crime boss John Gotti, in Howard Beach, New York who disappeared after he struck and killed Gotti's 12-year-old son, Frank Gotti, by car as he darted into the street on a motorized minibike.
Death of Frank Gotti
On March 18, 1980, Gotti's middle son, 12-year-old Frank Gotti, was run over and killed on a family friend's minibike by neighbor, John Favara. Frank's death was ruled an accident, but Favara subsequently received death threats and was attacked by Gotti's wife, Victoria, with a baseball bat when he visited the Gottis to apologize.
On July 28, 1980, he was abducted and disappeared. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), before Favara and his family were able to move, he was shoved into a van by several men near his place of business. There were several witnesses to the abduction, and accounts ranged from him being beaten with a baseball bat, shot with a silenced .22 caliber pistol, or both. Accounts differed on what was done with Favara's body. One account said that while Favara was alive, he was dismembered with a chainsaw and stuffed into a barrel filled with concrete and dumped in the ocean or buried somewhere on the chop shop lot.
After the abduction, Favara's wife and two sons moved out of Howard Beach; John was declared legally dead in 1983. In November 2004, informants led the FBI to excavate a parking lot in New York City suspected to be a mob graveyard and the site of Favara's body. While two bodies were found, Favara's was not among them.
When questioned by two detectives on Favara's disappearance, John Gotti said: "I'm not sorry the guy's missing. I wouldn't be sorry if the guy turned up dead."
Previously, prosecutors believed Favara's remains were stuffed in a barrel of concrete and tossed off a Sheepshead Bay pier, but Brooklyn federal court papers filed by federal prosecutors the week of January 5, 2009, contain allegations that mob hitman Charles Carneglia killed Favara and disposed of his body in acid.
Richard Kuklinski alleged that he carried out dozens of murders on behalf of Gambino soldier Roy DeMeo, including being hired by Gotti to kidnap, torture and murder Favara. Mob expert Jerry Capeci dismissed Kuklinski's claims as "mostly demented ramblings".
Portrayal in popular media
Favara's murder is depicted in the 1996 HBO production Gotti. In the film, John Gotti, portrayed by Armand Assante, is shown pointedly admonishing underboss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, played by William Forsythe, that his son's death was an accident and to "leave it alone". Upon learning of his identity, Gravano is shown beating and shooting Favara in a pedestrian underpass, then fleeing.
The incident is also shown in the 2018 film Gotti.