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Man Suspected of Killing Maryland Judge Following Child Custody Ruling Found Dead amid Manhunt

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Pedro Argote, the suspect wanted for murder in connection with the death of Maryland Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson, has been found dead by authorities after a week-long manhunt.

In a statement posted to Facebook, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said that a deceased person — positively identified as Argote — was found around 11 a.m. Thursday during an “expanded evidentiary search” in the Williamsport area.

At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Sheriff Brian K. Albert said Argote’s remains were sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore. A cause and manner of death are pending the results of an autopsy.

WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE; WASHINGTON COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION

The agency said his body was found in a heavily wooded area located about one mile northwest of where the 49-year-old’s vehicle was found. On Saturday, authorities recovered a silver 2009 Mercedes GL450 belonging to Argote near the West Virginia border.

Authorities had been searching for Argote since the fatal Oct. 19 shooting of 52-year-old Wilkinson, a Washington County Circuit Court Judge. Wilkinson was killed just hours after granting Argote’s estranged wife custody of their four children, ages 12, 11, 5 and 3, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Marshals Service even offered up to a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

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Wilkinson was found around 8 p.m. on Oct. 19 “suffering from what appeared to be gunshot wounds” on his driveway in Hagerstown, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a release. He was taken to Meritus Medical Center, where he later died.

Earlier that day, Wilkinson ruled against Argote in his divorce petition against his estranged wife, and ordered him to pay monthly child support and barred him from having any contact with his children, NBC News reported.

According to the circuit court’s website, Wilkinson studied economics at the University of North Carolina before attending Emory University School of Law in 1997. He was an attorney at Barton & Williams and Divelbiss & Wilkinson and opened his own law firm in 2018 while serving on the board of directors for several associations.

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