A weeklong manhunt for the killer of a wealthy Washington, D.C., family and their housekeeper has ended with the arrest of a welder who once worked for the family’s patriarch. The arrest doesn’t answer all the unanswered questions, but here’s a timeline of what’s known so far.
Savvas Savopoulos, the 46-year-old CEO of American Iron Works, is cleaning a martial-arts study he owns in Northern Virginia. Nelitza Gutierrez, a housekeeper for Savopoulos and his family, is there helping.
Savopoulos gets a 5:30 p.m. call from his wife, Amy, 47, telling him to come home to watch their 10-year-old son, Philip, because she has plans to go out. They live in a $4.5 million mansion on Woodland Drive in the Washington neighborhood of Woodley Park, not far from Vice President Joe Biden’s official residence.
Later that night, Savopoulos leaves Gutierrez a voicemail saying that her friend and fellow housekeeper Veralicia “Vera” Figueroa, 57, scheduled to get off work at 3 p.m., is going to stay with his wife, who has fallen ill and hasn’t gone out.
He tells Gutierrez not to come in to work the next day. Gutierrez later tells The Associated Press that he sounds flustered in the voicemail, and that he says Figueroa’s phone is dead.
At this point, authorities later come to suspect, the Savopoulos family and Figueroa are being held captive inside the mansion.
Amy Savapoulos orders two pizzas from Domino’s at 9:14 p.m. and gives unusual instructions: She says she is nursing a sick child and asks Domino’s to leave the pizzas on the front porch, ring the doorbell and leave.
Amy Savopoulos sends Gutierrez a text message confirming that Gutierrez isn’t going to report to work that morning. Gutierrez calls back and sends a return text but doesn’t receive a response, Gutierrez later tells the AP.
Gutierrez’s husband visits the Savopolous home and knocks on the door. No one answers. Not long after, Savvas Savopoulos calls the husband to say Figueroa is OK and has spent the night there.
That morning, Savvas Savopoulos’ assistant drops off a package containing $40,000 in cash.
At 1:30 p.m., the Washington Fire Department gets a call reporting a fire on Woodland Drive, with smoke pouring from the second floor. There firefighters find the bodies of Savvas Savopoulos, Amy Savopoulos, Philip Savopolous and Figueroa.
Authorities suspect the fire was set intentionally. The family’s blue 2008 Porsche is missing; it was last seen at around 10:30 that morning. The car would be found hours later, torched, in New Carrollton, Maryland.
Autopsies determine that Savvas Savopoulos, Amy Savopoulos and the housekeeper died of blunt and sharp force trauma, and that the boy died from the fire and from sharp force injuries. Authorities later say they believe the fire started in the boy’s bedroom, and his body was found on the charred remains of the bed.
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Washington police announce the start of a multi-agency homicide and arson investigation. They put out a call for tips from anyone who saw the Porsche between 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. the previous day.
Almost a week after the crime, Washington police go public with the name of a suspect. He is identified as Daron Dylon Wint, 34, 5 feet 7 inches tall and 155 pounds, and police say they want him for first-degree murder. Subsequent investigation determines his full name to be Darron Dellon Dennis Wint.
DNA found on a piece of pizza led police to him.
That night, authorities barely miss him in Brooklyn, New York. A law enforcement official later tells NBC New York that they tracked him there through a phone, later found to be in the possession of his girlfriend, who lives in Brooklyn.
Washington police fill in some details. At a press conference, they say Wint should be considered armed and dangerous. And they draw a connection between Wint and the victims: He used to work at American Iron Works, where Savopoulos was the CEO.
“So right now,” Chief Cathy Lanier tells reporters and an anxious city, “it does not appear that this was just a random crime.”
Investigators interview Wint’s girlfriend in Brooklyn. She tells them, according to an account given by a law enforcement official to NBC New York, that he is thinking of turning himself in.
More background emerges: Wint was a welder at American Iron Works from 2003 to 2005. And he has a criminal record.
He was convicted of assaulting a girlfriend in 2009 and pleaded guilty to a property-destruction charge in 2010 after he was accused of threatening to kill a woman and her infant daughter and stealing her television.
That same year, he was arrested with a 2-foot machete and a BB gun outside American Iron Works headquarters. Weapons charges were dropped, and he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of having an open container of alcohol.
He also had three unrelated protective orders issued against him, according to public records.
Further in his past, a U.S. military official tells NBC News, Wint enlisted in the Marine Corps a decade and a half ago but was kicked out before he could complete basic training.
As the day wears on, law enforcement officers in Washington, New York and across the country look for Wint. A federal marshals official later tells the AP that they believe he “saw himself on the news and just took off.”
According to the law enforcement official who spoke to NBC New York, investigators use a second set of phone records to track Wint to a Howard Johnson Express in College Park, Maryland, a half-hour’s drive from the Savopoulos mansion.
But he’s not inside the motel: He’s in a white Chevy Cruze, pulling out of the parking lot, according to an account given later by a federal law enforcement official to NBC News. A swarm joins the hunt — 20 cars from a law enforcement task force, plus a helicopter.
Authorities tail Wint for five miles, back into Washington, and surround both the Cruze and a small box truck traveling with him. They surround the vehicles, approach with guns drawn and, at about 11 p.m., arrest Wint, two other men and three women.
Wint shows almost no emotion as he’s taken in, Robert Fernandez, commander of the U.S. Marshal Service's Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, tells The Associated Press. “We had overwhelming numbers and force,” he says. “They completely submitted immediately.”
Officers find a wad of cash — at least $10,000, a federal law enforcement official says — in the moving truck, but it’s not clear how much or where it came from.
Authorities release arrest documents for Wint describing the killings in grim detail. Detective Jeffrey Owens, in an affidavit, says he believes the crimes “required the presence and assistance of more than one person.”
While Wint waits to appear in court, the Savopoulos family releases a statement thanking law enforcement: “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.”
“Our family, and Vera’s family, have suffered unimaginable loss,” the statement says.
At an afternoon arraignment, Wint is ordered held without bail. Authorities say they're still investigating.
Peter Alexander, NBC Washington, NBC New York and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Erin McClam is a senior writer for NBC News, responsible for reporting, writing and editing general news for NBCNews.com. Prior to joining the site in January 2013, McClam worked at The Associated Press, where he spent 13 years and was most recently financial markets editor. In that role, McClam was responsible for a team of five reporters and a deputy editor that covered the stock and bond markets, financial regulation and the nation's largest banks.
Prior to that role, McClam held a variety of jobs at AP, including being a national correspondent and an original member of its Top Stories Desk editing operation.
McClam lives in New York.
Jon Schuppe writes about crime, justice and related matters for NBC News.