A married couple, their son and a housekeeper were found dead in a home in an upscale Washington, D.C., neighborhood on Thursday after the house burned in a fire, police say.
The home’s owner, 46-year-old American Iron Works CEO Savvas Savopoulous, his 47-year-old wife Amy, his 10-year-old son Philip, and their housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa, 57, of Silver Spring, Maryland, were identified as the victims during a Friday news conference.
Three of the victims died of sharp, blunt force trauma, according to My Fox DC. Police did not say how the fourth victim was killed. The deaths of all four were ruled as homicides, police said.
Figueroa was a native of El Salvador, where her children still lived, according to WUSA-TV. She had been working for the family for four years and had recently said she wanted to retire soon and return home.
Police believe more than one person was involved in the killings.
The $2 million mansion is in the 3200 block of Woodland Drive NW, not far from Vice President Joe Biden’s residence.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Found a ‘Savage,’ Bloody & Obvious Crime Scene After the Fire
Police sources told My Fox DC that first responders found a “savage, bloody and obvious crime scene,” when they arrived at the scene.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a Friday news conference that the fire was intentionally set.
“Evidence collection will go on for several days,” Lanier said. “There’s still a lot more we don’t know.”
Lanier said they haven’t found evidence of random or forced entry into the home. She said it’s hard to know if the house was ransacked because of the fire damage.
Firefighters were called to the house at about 1:15 p.m. It took about 30 minutes for the fire to be extinguished.
A neighbor, Joe Carregal, told the Washington Post he saw smoke pouring from the upper-story windows of the house and man knocking on the front door to try to get the family out. Fire trucks soon arrived and firefighters broke windows, deployed ladders and climbed onto the roof. Carregal said he saw them pull three victims from the house.
Police believe the killers accessed the home Wednesday and kept the victims bound, threatening them, until Thursday, NBC Washington reports. Investigators believe Savvas Savopoulos gave the culprits what they were looking for on Thursday.
2. The Family’s Porsche Was Abandoned & Burned in Maryland After it Was Seen Leaving the House
A person of interest has been identified after the family’s Porsche was seen being driven from the house and was later found burning in a Maryland parking lot.
The Porsche was seen leaving the home at about 10:30 a.m.
“The person of interest was possibly operating a blue 2008 Porsche 911 sports car that was located abandoned in the 8000 block of Annapolis Road, in New Carrollton, Maryland,” police said in a statement. “Anyone with information about the person of interest, or who observed the vehicle being operated between Wednesday, May 13, 2015 and May 14, 2015, is asked to call police.”
The person of interest can be seen in surveillance video (watch it above) wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Police also included photos of the Porsche in the video.
Police sources told the Washington Post they matched DNA found on pizza left behind in the house to Wint. The pizza was ordered May 13 and delivered to the home by Domino’s.
3. A Text Message Was Sent to Another Housekeeper Telling Her to Stay Home
Nelitza Gutierrez, another housekeeper for the family, told the Washington Post that she received a text message from Amy Savopoulos Thursday morning telling her to not come to clean the house, which is her usual routine.
“I am making sure you do not come today,” the text message read.
The text message came at about 9 a.m. Gutierrez tried to call Savopoulos about an hour later, but she did not answer.
Gutierrez, who worked for the family for 20 years, told the newspaper that Philip Savopoulos was staying home from school while recovering from a go-kart injury.
She also said that Savvas Savopoulos had left a voice mail Wednesday night.
“It was something very suspicious because I felt his voice was really tense,
Gutierrez told the Post. “And it was different than what he had said to me before.”
She said he had originally told her that Amy planned to go out, but then said she was home sick in bed.
He also told her that Figueroa, the other housekeeper, would be staying over, but her phone had died and he asked Gutierrez to pass that message on to her family.
“Never, never did she stay over,” Gutierrez told the Post.
4. The Couple’s 2 Daughters Were Away at Boarding Schools
The couple’s two daughters, 19-year-old Abigail, and 16-year-old Katerina, were not home because they were at boarding schools.
Abigail was set to graduate soon from Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, while Katerina is a student at Peddie School in New Jersey.
Abigail had left her mother a touching Mother’s Day tribute on her Facebook page, according to the Washington Post:
I am so grateful for everything you do. Thank you for always believing in me and supporting me. Thank you for the early morning crafts, upside down clowns on my birthday, gingerbread decorating parties, and for always showing up. … Thank you for the past 19 years and I look forward to the many more to come. I love you so much.
Philip Savopoulos was a fourth grader at the prestigious St. Albans School in D.C.
5. The Family Moved Into the Home About 10 Years Ago & Were Active in the Community
The family was very involved in the community, friends and neighbors told the Washignton Post.
“The community where they lived really loved them,” a friend, Colo Palomeque, told the Post.
Amy Savopoulos was stay-at-home mom and was involved in her children’s schools and local charities.
Savvas Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, according to the company’s website.
The company is the “leading integrated manufacturer of highly-engineered, custom-manufactured building products and provider of installation services for specialty metals and structural steel in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan region.”
He was also the chairman of the board of Sigma Enterprises Ltd., an international trading firm, and had recently accepted a job with a Puerto Rico-based company.