Miguel Angel Lopez-Abrego was charged with first-degree murder after human remains were found at Wheaton Regional Park in September. The unidentified victim was wearing a grey sweatshirt (pictured right) when the body was found by detectives.
Miguel Angel Lopez-Abrego (Photo: Montgomery County Police Department)
WHEATON, Md. - A 19-year-old man is being held without bond after being arrested and charged in what authorities say was a gang-related murder.
Montgomery County police had been searching for Miguel Angel Lopez-Abrego after human remains were discovered at Wheaton Regional Park on Sept. 5. Police say he was apprehended in North Carolina on Nov. 11 and extradited back to Maryland to appear before a judge in Rockville for a bond hearing.
The homicide is detailed in court documents released Wednesday, and the killing was so violent and gruesome that the body has yet to be identified.
Police believe Lopez-Abrego was the first of several MS-13 gang members to stab the victim to death with a 15-inch knife. An informant told police the victim was lured to Wheaton Regional Park to meet his alleged killers. Lopez-Abrego is believed to have waited near a wooded area with a walkie-talkie in hand in order to alert the gang members of the victim's arrival, who had been lured to the park from Annapolis.
According to court documents, the victim was stabbed more than 100 times, decapitated and dismembered. His heart was cut out of his chest and then thrown into a pre-dug grave.
The victim is believed to have been killed back in the spring, but it was only in September when Montgomery County detectives were alerted to the gravesite.
Pictures of the victim's clothes were released to the public in October in an effort to help identify the victim.
FOX 5 has learned Lopez-Abrego was a student at Northwood High School in Silver Spring, but withdrew from the school last year.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Lopez-Abrego is originally from El Salvador and is in the country illegally. ICE has now lodged a detainer against him following his arrest.