WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (TCD) — The 49-year-old man accused of killing a circuit court judge who presided over the suspect’s divorce was found deceased in a wooded area following a week-long manhunt.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office announced Pedro Argote’s body was found in a dense wooded area during an “expanded evidentiary search” in Williamsport on Thursday, Oct. 26, at approximately 11 a.m. Argote had been on the run since Thursday, Oct. 19, when he allegedly gunned down Judge Andrew Wilkinson in his driveway. Officials said Argote was likely traveling in a silver Mercedes GL450.
Washington County Sheriff Brian Albert said in a press conference Oct. 21 that a local resident in Williamsport discovered the Mercedes in a “pretty remote area.” Law enforcement investigators searched vacant buildings in the surrounding area for Argote but did not find him.
Albert said the Argote was located about a mile northwest of where the resident found Argote’s car.
His body was transported to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.
According to Albert, officials initially “hastily” looked over the area, but adopted a “more systematic approach” to find Argote.
Albert said in an initial press conference that Wilkinson was presiding over Argote’s divorce case and had granted Argote’s estranged wife custody of their four children the same day he was killed. Argote did not show up to court that day.
The Associated Press reports Wilkinson finalized the divorce Oct. 19, in which he ordered Argote to pay his ex-wife $1,120 in child support monthly and not to have any contact with his children, who range in age from 3 to 12 years old.
Court records show Argote filed for divorce June 6, 2022, but six days later, his wife obtained an order of protection against him that said he could not abuse or contact his family, nor could he enter the home. He was also required to vacate the residence and surrender his firearms.
According to The Associated Press, Argote’s ex-wife accused her husband of “cruel treatment” and said she could not “get out of the house without his knowledge” and that he constantly carried a weapon. The order was dismissed June 24, 2022.
WDMV-TV reports Argote allegedly beat his daughter with a belt and installed surveillance cameras around the house.
Albert said the community can “breathe easier” knowing Argote is no longer alive but reiterated Wilkinson’s death is “still a tragedy.”
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