Suspect Wanted for Torture and Quadruple Murder of CEO and His Family Busted with a Box Truck Full of Cash
Mia de Graaf and Ben Ashford, Daily Mail, May 22, 2015
Police have captured the man suspected of torturing and killing a wealthy family and their housekeeper before setting their mansion alight a week ago.
Daron Wint, 34, had been wanted in the murders of American Iron Works CEO Savvas Savopoulos, his wife Amy, 10-year-old son Philip and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, who were all found murdered in their Washington D.C. home on May 14.
The dramatic arrest just before 11.30pm on Thursday came after US Marshals located Wint at a Howard Johnson Inn hotel in Maryland, authorities said.
When they moved in to arrest him they saw him leave the parking lot in a white Chevrolet Cruze with two women. It seemed to be traveling with a Ford box truck, authorities said.
After tailing the vehicles with the help of a helicopter, the officers cornered them and their occupants on Rhode Island Avenue near 12th Street in Washington, DC.
The truck was allegedly filled with $10,000 cash.
As well as Wint, authorities arrested three other males–including his brother–and two females in the car and the truck, according to Robert Fernandez, commander of the U.S. Marshal Service’s Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.
They were taken into custody without incident.
‘We believe he saw himself on the news and just took off,’ Fernandez said.
Wint is expected to make his first appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Friday afternoon.
Following the arrests, the Savopoulos family released a statement expressing their relief.
‘We are thankful to law enforcement who have worked so diligently to bring about an arrest in this case,’ the statement said.
‘While it does not abate our pain, we hope that it begins to restore a sense of calm and security to our neighborhood and to our city.
‘We are blessed to live in a community comprised of close circles of friends who have supported us and grieve with us. We are grateful, as well, to the men and women of the fire department for their professionalism and caring.
‘Our family, and Vera’s family, have suffered unimaginable loss, and we ask for the time and space to grieve privately.’
The arrests end a week-long search in an investigation that still has more questions than answers.
Wint, who had previously worked for Savopoulos’ company, is suspected of holding the victims captive overnight.
Police believe they were tied up, doused in gasoline and tortured in an attempt to extort money from Mr Savopoulos, the head of the major industrial company.
Three of the four bodies had brute force head injuries and smelled of gasoline when they were found after their home went up in flames on Thursday.
When emergency responders and police arrived on the scene, $40,000 in cash that Savopoulos’ assistant had dropped off that morning and the family’s Porsche were missing.
The couple’s two teenage daughters survived as they were away at boarding school at the time.
Wint was identified as the suspect on Wednesday night after police found his DNA on a pizza crust at the scene. The killer or killers had ordered pizza to the house while holding the family hostage.
A person of interest was seen on surveillance footage that authorities released last week, but they have said they do not believe it shows Wint.
Following the murders, Wint was seen hanging out on the porch of his father’s Maryland home, neighbors told Daily Mail Online.
He was charged in a warrant with first-degree murder while armed and a manhunt began.
Authorities said that they believed Wint had fled to Brooklyn, where his girlfriend lives. But they just missed him on Wednesday night.
The girlfriend, who is not under arrest, spent the day being interviewed by the NYPD. She said she thought he was going to turn himself in to police–but police caught up with him on Thursday night.
He may have spent hours hiding out at a budget hotel before he was finally snared, Daily Mail Online has learned.
An accomplice is believed to have booked a room at the Howard Johnson Express Inn around 2pm Thursday.
A source at the hotel said the man walked inside reception and asked for a non-smoking double room for one night. He paid $126 plus tax in cash and was required to show staff his ID.
Staff assigned him room number 412, which officers accessed for clues following Wint’s arrest.
Speaking to Daily Mail Online at the scene of his arrest, Commander Rob Fernandez of the U.S. Marshall Service said police narrowly missed capturing Wint in New York but soon picked up the trail again when he headed south to DC.
He said that they were able to track Wint down to the Howard Johnsons at Route 1 and were planning on going in to the hotel to arrest him, but when they approached, they realized he was in a car and started following.
‘We got to a safe location, we called Prince George’s County Police and they put up a helicopter for us,’ he said.
‘Once we got to a good location we were able to pin the vehicle in and extract him safely–nobody got hurt, nobody got injured. There were multiple people taken into custody. Wint was in the rear vehicle and he was a passenger.’
Commander Fernandez said 50 to 60 people from a multitude of law enforcement agencies helped pull off the arrest, led by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.
He added: ‘It was long 48 hours and it was a collaborative effort of a lot of different agencies, all of them part of our task force. They are the most amazing investigators.’
At a press conference on Thursday, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said that Wint had worked at one time for Savvas Savopoulos’ company, American Iron Works, Inc.
‘We do believe there is a connection with the suspect in the case through the business,’ she said. ‘This was not random.’
A former neighbor at the Lanham, Maryland apartment block where Wint rented a one-bedroom apartment until a year ago told Daily Mail Online that the suspect earned his living as a welder.
Fox reported that Wint worked there around 10 years ago as a laborer.
Court documents reveal that Wint, who was born in Guyana, moved to the U.S. in 2000 at the age of 20 and settled in Maryland where his family were.
The papers appear to contradict his Facebook page which claims that he graduated from Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland in 1996 before attending Prince George’s Community College.
Records show that in September 2001 Wint joined the Marine Corps Recruit Training or ‘boot camp’–officially known as ‘entry level separation’.
But while he started intensive basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina on July 24, 2001, he was dropped on September 28–four weeks before the 13 week program ended.
A spokesperson for the Marine Corps said: ‘There are several reasons an individual would be dropped from boot camp. They range from failure to adapt, fraudulent enlistment, their conduct or an injury.’
By 2005 Wint had experienced his first of 39 brushes with the law; most are traffic offences, but the sheer volume shows a long standing disregard for the rules. Other arrests include for assault, malicious destruction of property, and a protective order has been carried out against him.
Still, Maryland defense attorney Robin Ficker, who represented Wint in previous cases around a decade ago, said he does not believe Wint could be behind the murders.
‘He’s not a match for this type of activity at all,’ Ficker told the Washington Post. ‘He’s the last one I would suspect with anything like this.’