Manhunt continues for judge killer after suspect’s car found

A manhunt has entered its third day following the fatal shooting of a judge as police announced that the main suspect’s car has been found abandoned in a wooded area.

Pedro Argote, 49, allegedly shot Judge Andrew Wilkinson on Thursday evening, hours after he awarded his ex-wife, Eugeina Argote, full custody of their four children.

The alleged shooter fled the scene in Hagerstown. He has been described by law enforcement as armed and dangerous and warned the public not to approach him.

Police in Washington County, Maryland reported on Saturday morning that Mr Argote’s 2009 silver Mercedes SUV had been found abandoned by a local resident off Bottom Road in Williamsport.

“We’re going to catch this guy. It’s just a matter of time,” Sheriff Brian Albert said at a press conference on Saturday.

Officers with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Dept. SWAT Team search for suspect Pedro Argote (AP)
Officers with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Dept. SWAT Team search for suspect Pedro Argote (AP)

“That is a possibility that he is not in the area but we have to clear this area to make sure. It’s a pretty big area we’re looking at it’s hundreds of acres in there,” the sheriff said.

“Within a 10-minute walk, you could be in a lot of places down there, especially with the canal. There’s a railroad track that runs through and then some other local roads.”

Pedro Argote (Washingto County Sheriff’s Office)
Pedro Argote (Washingto County Sheriff’s Office)

Mr Argote allegedly had a history of controlling and violent behaviour toward his wife and family, according to court documents. Despite this, Sheriff Albert said that there was no risk to the local community but asked residents to avoid the search area.

In addition to local authorities, state and federal authorities are assisting in the search.

The US Marshals Service is offering $10,000 to anyone with information leading to Mr Argote’s arrest.