Man arrested after body found behind business


Francois' body was found around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday behind a business at 1625 Ronald Drive in a strip mall off of Wake Forest and New Hope Church roads.

A man who knows Francois says he was seen alive late Wednesday afternoon. Francois was found beaten less than two hours later.

One of the men who found his body says Francois, who was homeless and lived in a makeshift homeless camp near the shopping center, was not behind the building the morning of his death.

Police have charged 49-year-old Stephen William Plato with murder in connection with Francois' death. They say Francois and Plato knew one another and the crime was not a random act.

However, those who frequent the shopping area say they are frightened by the discovery.

"Creepy, pretty incredible," Henry Espina said. "I just saw the guy here a few hours ago."

The man says bad things usually don't happen in the area.

"Practically every time I'd come to work, he's been here outside of the store," Espina added. "I don't know why anyone would mess with him. He wasn't a bad guy at all."

Plato has been transported to the Wake County Jail, while Francois' remains have been taken to the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.

The investigation of the case is continuing.

Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | See Click Fix
Follow @abc11 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook

Copyright © 2023 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.