Court documents: Wint did not act alone

WASHINGTON — A wealthy D.C. businessman and his family were held captive for almost a day in exchange for a $40,000 ransom and once the cash was handed over to their captors, the family and their housekeeper were killed, according to court files unsealed Friday.

Daron D. Wint, 34 of Lanham, Maryland, was arrested late Thursday night on a single charge of first degree murder for the death of Savvas Savopoulos. Charging documents say that Savopoulos was kidnapped and that Wint stabbed and hit him to death.

Savopoulos, 46, his wife Amy, 47, son Philip and housekeeper Vera Figueroa, 57, were all found dead by firefighters inside the family’s house on Woodland Drive last Thursday. A fire on the second floor of the family’s $4.5 million house was intentionally set, police have said.

But investigators believe that Wint had help.

“The crimes described in this affidavit required the presence and assistance of more than one person,” according to the criminal complaint.

“Mr. Wint and others” held the family captive from 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 13 through the afternoon of Thursday, May 14. The family was killed after an employee of Savvas Savopoulos delivered $40,000 in cash to the house, the criminal complaint says.

Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, a Hyattsville construction materials supply company. Wint once worked for the same company — a connection that led investigators to believe that the family’s deaths were not a random crime, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has said.

A judge Friday ordered Wint held without bail and set another court hearing for June 23.

Wint, wearing a white jail jump suit, mumbled his name but otherwise did not speak. During the hearing, prosecutors said that they believe they have Wint’s fingerprints on a water bottle found inside the Savopoulos’ home.

Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent Cohen said despite Wint’s arrest, the investigation continues and additional charges could be filed.

The criminal complaint also provides more details about the death of the family’s 10-year-old son and the fire that was set. Philip died of both thermal injuries and sharp force wounds.

His body was found lying on the charred remnants of a mattress, much of the surrounding bed frame had been consumed by the fire, according to court records.

The boy’s father, mother and Figueroa all died of sharp force and blunt force trauma. Their bodies were found in another second floor room.

Investigators noticed the smell of gasoline in the home, and a specially trained dog detected an accelerant on the stairs and in the room where the three adults were discovered. Matches were found at the top of the stairs.

Court documents also say that investigators identified Wint through DNA collected from pieces of partially eaten pizza found at the house. Two Domino’s pizzas were delivered to the house about 9:15 p.m. May 13 and investigators said they believe that the family was already being held captive at this point. Special instructions were given to the delivery man, who was asked to ring the bell and leave the pizzas on the front porch.

D.C. police released Wint’s name Wednesday night after an arrest warrant was filed, launching a manhunt. The cross-country search for Wint took police from Prince George’s County to New York City, where his girlfriend lives. But police found Wint back in the D.C. area late Thursday.

He was seen leaving a Howard Johnson hotel in College Park with five other people. Investigators from a regional fugitive task force followed the group back into the District where the sedan and box truck they were riding in were stopped. All six were arrested without incident.

A U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia spokesperson said the others who were taken into custody when Wint was arrested have been questioned and released.

In the box truck, the U.S. Marshals Task Force found a large stack of $100 bills consistent with the money dropped off at the Savopoulos’ house. The task force also saw several money orders worth an estimated $10,000 in plain view.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report. 

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