Va. Day Laborer Held in Slaying of Contractor

Tom Jackman, Washington Post, Aug. 31

A day laborer from Annandale has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of a Fairfax County contractor who had hired him to work in a Chevy Chase home, police said yesterday.

The slaying occurred after the day laborer stole stereo equipment and jewelry from the house where they were working, court records say.

The issue of day laborers gathering informally to be hired by contractors has been contentious recently, particularly in Herndon, where the town government is trying to accommodate workers with a gathering place away from a 7-Eleven on Herndon’s main street. Police said yesterday that other day laborers were crucial in helping police make an arrest in the slaying.

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The smoldering body of Hak Bong Kim, 55, was discovered Aug. 15 in the woods near St. Michael’s Catholic Church on Ravensworth Road in Annandale. The body was so badly burned that police initially could not tell whether it was that of a man or a woman. Kim’s family had reported him missing the night before, so detectives were quickly able to obtain dental records and identify Kim.

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The day after Kim’s body was found, the homeowner in Chevy Chase returned from vacation to find that someone had taken a DVD player, gold jewelry, class rings and coins, court records show. Spots of blood were on the floor, Montgomery County Police Lt. Phil Raum said, and the contractor the family had hired several times in the past was nowhere to be found: Hak Kim.

Montgomery and Fairfax police launched a joint investigation. Police found unspecified evidence that led them to a 7-Eleven store in Annandale where day laborers congregate, Guth said, and detectives began reviewing the store’s surveillance tapes, hoping to find footage of Kim.

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Bustamante, 29, was arrested, and Montgomery police obtained a warrant charging him with first-degree murder. He is being held in the Fairfax County jail pending extradition.

Police searched Bustamante’s home in the 4500 block of King Edward Court at 2 a.m. yesterday. Records show they found the same type of DVD player stolen from Chevy Chase, a plastic storage bag containing assorted jewelry and a plastic bowl holding coins. They also seized a folding knife. Police said yesterday that Kim died of multiple stab wounds.

Police said Bustamante is from Honduras. They did not know how long he had been in the country, and they did not think he was here legally. He speaks little English, and an interpreter was used to interrogate him, Harris’s affidavit said.

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