WASHINGTON — Investigators believe a suspect in the mysterious slayings of a wealthy Washington family and their housekeeper is in the Brooklyn area of New York City, police said Thursday.
D.C. police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a news conference that her department is working with New York police as they seek 34-year-old Daron Dylon Wint on charges of first-degree murder, and that officials do not believe the crime was random.
Wint was spotted in Brooklyn as recently as Wednesday night, said Michael Czin, spokesman for D.C. Mayor Muriel Browser.
“Right now, you have just about every law enforcement officer across the country that is aware of his open warrant and are looking for him. Even his family has made pleads for him to turn himself in,” Lanier said. “It would be much easier if he would just turn himself in.”
When firefighters responded to the house for a fire May 14, they found the slain bodies still inside. Authorities believe the fire was intentionally set. Slain were 46-year-old Savvas Savopoulos; his 47-year-old wife, Amy; their son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa.
Lanier says investigators believe Wint worked for Savvas Savopoulos’ company American Ironworks in the past.
“For residents of the district who are rightfully scared and want answers as to why and how this family may have been involved, we want to give you as many answers as we can,” Lanier said. “What we can tell you right now is that we do believe there is a connection between the suspect in this case through the business. So right now it does not appear that this was a random crime.”
Investigators used DNA analysis conducted at a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms lab to identify Wint, and his name has been known to federal authorities since Tuesday, a law enforcement official involved in the investigation said. His name was released publicly as a suspect Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.
The U.S. Marshals Service has joined the search for Wint, said Drew Wade, an agency spokesman. Wint had ties to New York, and police there were working with District of Columbia authorities to help track him down, but so far he has not been spotted in the metropolitan area.
Online court records show that Wint was convicted of second-degree assault in Maryland in 2009 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. He also pleaded guilty in 2010 to malicious destruction of property, and a burglary charge in that case was dropped, court records show.
Wint was born and raised in Guyana and moved to the United States in 2000, when he was almost 20 years old, according to court records filed in Maryland. He joined the Marine Corps that same year and received an honorable discharge for medical reasons, the records show. Following his discharge, he worked as a certified welder, the records show.
Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, a construction-materials supplier based in Hyattsville, Maryland, that has been involved in major projects in downtown Washington. Company representatives have repeatedly declined to comment. Savopoulos moonlighted as a martial-arts instructor and had planned to open a martial arts studio in northern Virginia.
The Savopouloses lived in a $4.5 million home Woodley Park, where mansions are protected by fences and elaborate security systems and local and federal law enforcement officers are a constant presence, in part because Vice President Joe Biden’s official residence is nearby.
BEN NUCKOLS, Associated Press___
Associated Press writer Colleen Long in New York and photographer Alex Brandon in Washington contributed to this report.
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