WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The man suspected of fatally shooting a Maryland circuit court judge has been found dead, according to authorities.
In a Thursday morning post to Facebook, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Pedro Argote, 49, of Frederick, was found dead in a heavily wooded area of Williamsport, not far from where the shooting unfolded, ending a weeklong manhunt that rocked the largely rural community.
WCSO said that his body was found about one mile northwest of the area in which deputies recovered his SUV. Officials said Thursday morning that they had returned to the area to conduct “additional evidentiary searches.” They said there was no safety concern.
Argote was accused of killing Judge Andrew Wilkinson, 52, of Hagerstown.
Investigators believe Argote, angry about losing custody of his children, went to Wilkinson’s home on Oct. 19 and shot him in his driveway. Wilkinson died at an area hospital, and authorities had been searching for Argote ever since.
Argote’s divorce and custody case was before Wilkinson earlier in the day. Wilkinson gave custody of Argote’s children to Argote’s wife.
Argote did not appear at the hearing. His wife and his adult daughter from a previous relationship testified, outlining patterns of abuse that took place over the course of several years. Among other things, the daughter said that Argote had cameras throughout the house watching her “every move.” She added that he would beat her with a belt and other items.
Two days after the shooting, on Oct. 21, the sheriff’s office said it located Argote’s SUV in the wooded area in Williamsport which crews searched again for evidence on Thursday.
The day the search picked up was the same day that people were to gather to pay their respects to Wilkinson’s wife, children, and other family members during a visitation. Wilkinson’s funeral was scheduled to take place Friday at St. Ann Catholic Church in Hagerstown.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.