The man accused of executing Maryland Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson after a contentious divorce hearing last week was found dead just a mile from where his car had been found abandoned, the Washington County Sheriff's Office announced Thursday.
“The Washington County community can breathe a little easier this afternoon,” Washington County Sheriff Brian Albert during a press conference Thursday.
Pedro Argote’s remains are headed to a medical examiner for an autopsy, Albert said. He declined to comment on the cause of death or whether Argote was found with a firearm.
Wilkinson’s family expressed “relief” at the news, Albert said, adding that it brought some closure to them.
Argote had lost custody of his kids just hours before he allegedly showed up at Wilkinson’s home on Oct. 19 and shot the beloved judge dead in the driveway.
In the custody hearing earlier that day, Wilkinson had characterized Argote’s treatment of his family as “shocking.” He controlled every aspect of his family’s life, surveilling them with in-house cameras and beating them, according to testimony reviewed by the Associated Press.
Argote’s ex-wife testified that he would stuff a towel into their crying baby’s mouth, and that he carried a gun as he constantly surveilled her. His oldest daughter made similar claims, saying Argote was “watching my every move” through cameras. The women said Argote was abusive, beating them with “whatever [object] he had close by.”
Wilkinson called Argote “abusive in multiple ways” and ordered he have no contact with his kids and ex-wife, in addition to giving the ex-wife sole possession of the family home and use of Argote’s Mercedes for necessary medical appointments and shopping trips.
Argote fled after the alleged murder, prompting a week-long manhunt. His car was found abandoned last week, prompting a search in the area that eventually led to the discovery of his body in a “heavily wooded area” north of where the car was found.
—with additional reporting by Josh Fiallo