1 of 2 | The Washington County Sheriff’s Office holds a press conference on Thursday after Pedro Argote, 49, was found dead in a wooded area during a search in Williamsport, Md. Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff's Office
Oct. 26 (UPI) -- The man suspected of fatally shooting a Maryland judge who had been overseeing his divorce case was found dead Thursday, according to authorities.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office said Pedro Argote, 49, was found dead in a wooded area around 11 a.m. during a search in Williamsport, Md.
During a press conference, Sheriff Brian K. Albert said Argote's body was found approximately a mile away from where his silver 2009 Mercedes GL 450 SUV was found abandoned over the weekend.
"The Washington County community can breathe a little easier this afternoon," said Albert. "Murder suspect Pedro Argote was located deceased."
His cause of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner's Office, Albert said, and deputies did not comment about whether a weapon had been found.
Williamsport is located roughly eight miles southwest of Hagerstown, Md., where authorities say Argote shot and killed Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson in his driveway while his family was home.
The shooting occurred shortly after Wilkinson had awarded custody of the couple's four minor children to Argote's estranged wife during a divorce proceeding. Wilkinson had ordered Argote to provide monthly child support payments of $1,120 and barred him from entering the family's Hagerstown residence.
"It's relief, but it's still a tragedy that we're dealing with," said Albert. "Most of us up here we just came from Judge Wilkinson's viewing, met with the family. It brings a little bit of closure to them, but it's still a tragedy. They lost a husband, father and a brother."
The Maryland Judiciary's Government Relations and Public Affairs Office issued a statement Thursday, thanking all law-enforcement agencies for their help and requesting privacy for the slain judge's family.
Wilkinson's widow, Stephanie Wilkinson, expressed gratitude earlier this week for the outpouring of support following the untimely passing of her husband.
"My family and I are touched by the overwhelming response from family, friends, co-workers, local and state politicians, and Governor Moore," she said in a statement.
Wilkinson's funeral will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday at the Saint Ann Roman Catholic Church in Hagerstown.