Manhunt for DC murder suspect moves to Brooklyn
The manhunt for the quadruple murder suspect believed to have killed a Washington executive, his family and a housekeeper before torching their mansion and escaping with $40,000 in cash is now focused in Brooklyn, police said Thursday.
Daron Dylon Wint, who Washington police said previously worked for Savvas Savopoulos at American Iron Works, is believed to be hiding some 230 miles northeast of the crime scene, which he fled in Amy Savopoulos' Porsche after committing the murders and setting their home on fire.
"We have information that we believe Mr. Wint is currently in the Brooklyn, N.Y., area," Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier told reporters Thursday.
Lanier said authorities believe 34-year-old Wint is connected to the family through Savopoulos's business.
"It does appear that this was not a random crime," she said, adding, "We have not ruled out that there are others involved." She said Wint should be considered armed and dangerous.
Police reportedly believe Wint, a career criminal who has been arrested for assault and rape in the past, held the family over a period of several hours, forcing them to have a parcel of cash delivered to their home.
Law enforcement authorities from the NYPD, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Secret Service were assisting in the investigation, Lanier said. The murders took place May 14 just blocks away from Vice President Biden's official residence on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory.
Washington police issued a warrant for Wint's arrest late Wednesday after DNA from pizza crust left at the scene turned up the match. Fox affiliate WTTG reported that police were seen outside a home Wednesday night in Lanham, Md., where they believe Wint lives with his father. The station reported Wint has an extensive criminal history that includes traffic violations and charges for domestic violence, burglary and assault.
Savvas Savopoulos, 46; Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip, 10; and housekeeper Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, 57, were found dead on the second floor of their burning home in northwest Washington.
Authorities were led to New York City in their search for Wint after the man's girlfriend, who lives in Brooklyn, called police and said he had been staying with her, according to law enforcement sources. The woman, who has not been named, claimed Wint was headed back to Washington, D.C., to turn himself in. The New York City Police Department told Fox News that a Brooklyn home was searched Thursday in the case.
"We had information to believe he may be here, and right now in the South Brooklyn area," New York City Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters Thursday. "He has some relatives here and some friends here. We’re investigating that with them right now."
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser described the murders as "an act of evil."
Authorities say Wint entered the home sometime before midnight on May 13. They suspect the four victims were held at the home against their will overnight before they were killed May 14. The fire was reported to authorities at approximately 1:15 p.m. that day.
The Washington Post reported, citing three law enforcement officials close to the investigation, that police linked Wint to the murder scene by analyzing DNA from the crust of a Domino's pizza that had been ordered to the house on the night of May 13. The delivery man told WTTG that he delivered two pizzas to the house and was paid with cash left in an envelope outside the front door.
Earlier Wednesday, Nelitza Gutierrez, the family's longtime housekeeper, told WTTG that a package containing $40,000 in cash was scheduled to be delivered to the Savopoulos house on the morning of the fire. The money was withdrawn from an account at American Iron Works, according to multiple local reports.
When firefighters arrived at the home, the money was unaccounted for, as was a blue Porsche that was registered to Amy Savopoulos. The vehicle was found late that afternoon in the parking lot of a church in suburban Prince George's County, Md., where it had been torched.
Police released surveillance video over the weekend showing a man running near where the Porshe was abandoned. Lanier said authorities believe Wint is the person in that video.
Shortly after the fire at the family's $5 million mansion, Gutierrez revealed that she had received a text message that morning telling her not to come into work because the family was sick.
Sources close to the investigation told WTTG that Savvas and Amy Savopoulos, as well as Figueroa, were all found dead in chairs and were doused with gasoline. Philip Savopoulos was found in his bed, burned beyond recognition and with lacerations to his body.
Lanier told reporters that no vehicle is registered in Wint's name and said it was unclear how he traveled to New York.
"Possibly a bus, but we just don't know," she said.
The New York Daily News reported that Wint grew up in Guyana and moved to the U.S. in 2000. He joined the Marine Corps the same year and received an honorable discharge for medical reasons before working as a welder, according to the newspaper.
Lanier urged Wint to turn himself in, saying, "Right now you have just about every law enforcement in the country that is aware of his warrant and looking for him."
A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Wint's arrest. Authorities said he was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue-hooded sweatshirt and white tennis sneakers. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call police immediately at 202-727-9099.
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Fox News' Cristina Corbin, Peter Doocy and David Lee Miller contributed to this report.