News, Police

Body found in Williamsport identified as murder suspect

by Geoff Fox

A body discovered at around 11 a.m. on Thursday morning, October 26, in the Williamsport area has been identified the man law enforcement had been looking for in connection to the murder of Maryland Circuit Judge Andrew Wilkinson.

According to a post on the Washington County Sheriff’s Office social media page, a body was located during an expanded evidentiary search in the Williamsport area.

The deceased individual was positively identified as Pedro Argote, the suspect wanted for Wilkinson’s murder.

The Sheriff’s Office said the body was located in a heavily wooded area between Clear Spring Road and Bottom Road, about a mile north-west of where the suspect’s vehicle was found on Saturday.

During a press conference last Thursday, Sheriff Brian Albert read from a prepared statement before taking questions from the media.

“The Washington County community can breathe a little easier this afternoon,” Albert said as he announced Argote was located deceased.

Albert said Maryland State Police, along with other resources, were conducting expanded, systematic searches in a heavily wooded area in the area of Clear Spring Road and Bottom Road in Williamsport, which was about one mile from where Argote’s vehicle was found.

Argote’s remains were transported to the medical examiner’ s office in Baltimore for an autopsy.

“Until the autopsy is complete, we will not be able to answer questions surrounding his cause or time of death,” the sheriff said.

Albert thanked his personnel “for their tireless work and dedication during this investigation” and noted most hadn’t had a good night sleep since the murder took place.

He also thanked Maryland State Police, DNR Police, Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Hagerstown Police Department, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Frederick County Police, Western Maryland Regional Crime Lab, Lexus Nexus, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI Behavioral and Analyst Unit, U.S. Marshal’s Regional Task Force, and Hagerstown City Police for their assistance.

“There is no way we could have conducted this without their assistance,” Albert said.

Albert said it was relief Argote was found, but it’s still a tragedy they’ re dealing with as most of the police officers in attendance had just returned from Wilkinson’ s viewing and meeting with his family.

“They were very appreciative,” he said. “It brings a little bit of closure to them, but it’s still a tragedy. They lost a husband, father, and a brother.”

When asked if they had previously searched the area where Argote was found and if the gun was with him, Albert said he couldn’t comment on the ongoing investigation.

“We hastily searched that area, but we were just going over it systematically today,” he said.

A systematic search could be a grid style search, but there are other ways to do such as search. Albert said the grid style is the most knowledgeable to the public.

While the investigation is ongoing, Albert said once more information is obtained; the Sheriff’s Office will release those details as they become available.

“We’re pretty sure that, obviously, we’ve got our guy,” he said.

Precautions have been taken in Washington County to protect judges from similar situations, as have across the state.

“I’m sure we’re going to have discussions in the future on how to protect the judges a little bit better,” he said.

There’s always security in the courtroom, Albert said, and there have been added security in the community for the judges.

On October 19, Argote shot and killed Wilkinson in a targeted attack at the judge’s home on Olde Waterford Road in Hagerstown.

Wilkinson had presided over a divorce hearing involving Argote earlier in the day Argote was not present during the hearing, Albert said in a press conference on October 20.