WASHINGTON - It has been six months since a wealthy Washington D.C. family and their housekeeper were brutally murdered inside their Northwest D.C. mansion.
Investigators have not revealed much in the case, and even over a half a year later, there are still only a few clues about what really happened.
Daron Wint has been arrested for the killings, but there is still no motive on why Savvas Savopoulos, his wife, Amy, their 10-year-old son, Philip, and their housekeeper, Vera Figueroa, were all tortured, killed and burned inside their multi-million-dollar home.
On May 14 at 1:24 p.m., firefighters responded to Woodland Drive just blocks away from Washington National Cathedral and the vice president’s house. Flames and smoke were shooting out a second-floor window of the brick mansion that sits nestled between other million dollar homes and embassies.
In one bedroom, they found three unconscious adults -- Savvas, Amy and Vera.
In the room next door was where the fire was believed to have started. Inside was 10-year-old Philip -- his body so badly charred on the bed’s mattress that it was initially unrecognizable.
Ron Hosko has spent 30 years working for the FBI and retired as the bureau’s assistant director. He discussed his thoughts on this murder case with FOX 5.
“What is more leverage for a killer or an extortionist than to torture your child in front of you to meet the demands of your assassin, of your kidnapper," he said. "There is no better leverage than your child."
Police believe for nearly 20 hours before the fire, the family was held against their will inside their home.
“A little bit of surprise with him aggressively coming into the house, subduing them very quickly, and then you lure Mr. Savopoulos into a trap,” said Hosko.
Court documents show among the evidence was a baseball bat, which appeared to be covered in blood and was discovered in the room where Amy Savopoulos and Vera Figueroa had been tied up.
Savvas Savopoulos left a voicemail that evening for another housekeeper who was not working that night.
“It’s Savvas. I hope you get this message. Amy is in bed sick tonight and she was sick this afternoon and Vera offered to stay and help her out, so she’s going to stay the night here,” said Savopoulos in the phone message.
The adults were killed by blunt and sharp force trauma. The child was burned and stabbed to death.
“It was very cold-blooded, callous, without guilt, without remorse for what they do,” said Mary Ellen O’Toole, a former FBI agent and profiler.
She believes Daron Wint could not have acted alone.
“It’s hard to imagine that a person could be inside a home for 20 hours going between rooms, probably going up and down steps, setting a fire, interacting with four victims and not leave really a significant amount of forensic evidence,” said O’Toole.
ATF assisted D.C. police in scouring the burned remains of the home for evidence. But before a lab could turn around results, Amy Savopoulos’ blue Porsche was found miles from the house set ablaze.
Inside the car was a neon lime green construction vest -- like several other vests recovered in the mansion’s garage.
Witnesses told police they saw a black man with short well-groomed hair wearing the vest driving the Porsche erratically towards Maryland.
Minutes after the car was found burning, surveillance video from a nearby banquet hall showed a man in a dark hoodie carrying what appears to be a white bucket.
And among the evidence found at the home was a boot print on a side French door. It is inconsistent with that of any of the first responders’ prints.
Was it a sign of forced entry? And who got inside?
Amy Savopoulos called a nearby Domino’s Pizza restaurant that night nearly three hours after being held hostage. She paid over the phone with a credit card and said she was nursing her sick child. Her order was to leave the pizzas on the front porch, ring the doorbell and leave.
The next morning, she made sure another person would never make it inside -- a second housekeeper. She sent a text message telling her not to come into work at the home that day.
At about the same time, 28-year-old Jordan Wallace, an assistant to Savvas Savopoulos, was en route to drop $40,000 his boss had asked him to place in a manila envelope and then drop inside a car parked in the home’s garage. Wallace told detectives several different versions of events.
“I think by now the police would have great confidence in his story and why his story was what it was, and if he was involved, he’d be locked up,” said Hosko.
Two days after the fire, police turned to results on the crust left behind from one of the pizzas. Saliva on a half-eaten pepperoni pizza crust linked investigators to Savvas Savopoulos’ former employee, Daron Wint.
We asked O’Toole what kind of person decides to eat pizza in that situation.
“Just that contrast in behavior I think really underscores what a callous behavior that they’re able to do that,” she told us. “That suggests to me behavior that is almost psychopathic.”
But could Wint have killed four people, held them hostage for as many hours as he did, go all the way to Prince George’s County to burn a car, then flee the state -- all by himself? According to Hosko, he told us it was possible.
But Wint’s former defense and immigration attorney, Sean Hanover, who for nearly a month represented the Guyana citizen, told FOX 5, “There were definitely other people there.”
Savvas Savopoulos owned American Iron Works, and he was gearing up to open a martial arts gym in Chantilly, Virginia the night before the murders occurred. He was a wealthy business man who Hanover believes had powerful enemies likely behind the brutal deaths.
“The police don’t want to foreclose the rest of their investigation because they’re still investigating that too, and they’re afraid that if they do that, they’re going to jump too fast, too soon and close it down on people that might otherwise lead them back to the bigger fish,” said Hanover.
Wint was wanted and he fled the D.C. area after the murders. He had an already extensive criminal record. He had a conviction for assaulting a girlfriend and a guilty plea for destruction of property after threatening to kill a woman and her child. He was arrested back in 2010 outside American Iron Works for carrying a machete and BB gun.
“I don’t know that he’s a stupid criminal, but I don’t think he’s a complex criminal,” said Hosko. “Daron Wint acted by himself. This was his plan for the simplest of reasons -- he knew they had money.”
After a two-day manhunt that spanned the eastern seaboard to New York City and then back to a Prince George’s County motel in Maryland, Wint and others were riding in a rental car and box truck that were intercepted crossing into Washington D.C. by U.S. Marshals.
Stacks of hundred dollar bills along with money orders that totaled $10,000 were found in the vehicles. Every one that night was arrested and then let go with the exception of Wint, who was charged with the murders.
“Unless it’s in his best interest, unless it’s something that will benefit him like a plea agreement that will benefit him, he won’t talk,” said O’Toole.
The Savopoulos left behind two daughters, who were both away at boarding school when their family was murdered.
“I see so many pieces coming back to just one person -- it’s Daron Wint,” said Hosko. “He’s a former employee. He’s a person with anger and violence in his past. He’s a person that has touches on Mr. Savopoulos and the company since his termination. He’s a person that ends up with just under the money that was delivered here. His DNA is in two places related to this crime, so the evidence circles Daron Wint.
“To me the remaining question is: Did he have help? And if so, how much?”