The suspect accused of killing Maryland Judge Andrew Wilkinson has been found dead after a weeklong manhunt, police have revealed.
On Thursday, law enforcement officers located the body of Pedro Argote, 49, who was discovered in a wooded area in Williamsport, Pennsylvania after his SUV was located in the area over the weekend, according to the New York Post.
Washington County police said: “The deceased was located in a heavily wooded area between Clear Spring Road and Bottom Road approximately one mile northwest of where the suspect vehicle was found.”
The discovery of Argote's body concludes a multi-agency week-long manhunt after authorities revealed that Pedro Argote was the main suspect in the fatal shooting of Judge Wilkinson, in which they warned the public that Argote was “armed and dangerous.”
Argote allegedly shot and killed Judge Wilkinson in the driveway of his home in west Maryland last Thursday. Wilkson, who was a judge in Washington County Circuit Court, was presiding over a divorce hearing that included Argote at the time of his death.
Washington County Sherriff Brian Albert said during a press brief last week that the agency believed it was a “targeted attack.”
“This was a targeted attack on Judge Wilkinson. We have identified Pedro Argote, 49, of Frederick, Maryland, as a suspect in this case. Argote is not in custody and is considered armed and dangerous,” Sheriff Albert said.
On the day of his murder, Judge Wilkinson ruled in the divorce hearing that Argote could have no visitation or contact with his wife and four children. Argote was not present in court during the ruling. Wilkinson's wife and son were inside their family home when the judge was shot to death in the driveway.
Wilkinson also ruled Argote not to enter the family's property and that Argote's wife would have “sole use and possession of the family home.” Argote was also ordered to pay $1,120 in child support each month.
It was later revealed that Argote has a history of domestic violence with documentation showing that authorities were called to the family residence on multiple occasions.
It was alleged that Argote exhibited abusive behavior towards his children; his eldest daughter provided court testimony stating that he had beaten her with a belt and used a towel to muzzle his infant child, according to the outlet.
In addition, she asserted that Argote had installed surveillance cameras in their Frederick residence to monitor her while she was confined to the bedroom for years.
“The reason I worked up the courage to testify was so that my siblings wouldn’t have to go through the mental torment that I currently have,” Argote's daughter said during court testimony.
Argote's wife, Eugenia, said he was abusive and controlling. She had a domestic violence protection order against him but canceled it to accommodate a “nesting agreement” in which Argote was to stay on the bottom floor of the residence, while Eugenia and the kids stayed on the top floor.
During the divorce hearing, Judge Wilkinson called Argote's behavior “shocking” and said: “I think he is abusive in multiple ways.” Just hours later, Wilkinson was murdered.