A 19-year-old illegal alien and MS-13 gang member is under arrest in Maryland in the murder of a man who was stabbed 100 times and then decapitated. The ritualistic gang killing shocked the community in its savagery, the likes of which is rarely seen in the United States.
According to police reports, sometime in the spring of this year, a group of approximately ten MS-13 members lured a man to a park in Wheaton, Maryland, where they had a grave dug out for him. The gang ambushed him and stabbed him 100 times. They then decapitated him and cut out his heart. They then threw his body in the grave.
The MS-13 suspect is an illegal alien from El Salvador. He was one of several illegals found with suspected gang members questioned in the murder.
The first alleged attacker to be arrested, Miguel “Timido” Angel Lopez-Abrego, 19, was charged with first-degree murder and held in jail after a brief hearing Wednesday.
“He is noted as being the first individual to thrust a knife into the chest of the decedent,” Assistant State’s Attorney Kelly McGann said in court. Police continue to search for other suspects.
Police found the body buried in a grave, deep in the woods of Wheaton Regional Park, that the attackers dug before the slaying, according to court records.
Authorities have not been able to identify the victim, who they believe may have been from Annapolis. He was wearing a sweatshirt, and those who knew him would have noticed he was missing a lower tooth near the front of his mouth, police said.
The investigation began in early September, when detectives spoke to an informant who said he knew of an MS-13 murder that occurred in the spring of this year in the park. The informant led detectives to the gravesite, according to court records. The remains were exhumed and examined by the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office.
“The victim had been stabbed over one-hundred times, decapitated, dismembered, and his heart had been excised from his chest and thrown into the grave,” detectives wrote in court papers.
Although the victim’s identity was unknown, Montgomery detectives developed Lopez-Abrego as a suspect.
On Sept. 29, patrol officers stopped a car driven by another MS-13 member in which Lopez-Abrego was a passenger. Detectives interviewed Lopez-Abrego, but he denied any involvement in the park murder, the court records state.
Montgomery police tried to find Lopez-Abrego after that interview but couldn’t find him.
Law enforcement agents, looking for a different MS-13 suspect from Maryland — Milton PortilloRodriguez,
accused of a murder in Anne Arundel County — tracked that man to Avery County, N.C.
Lopez-Abrego is a citizen of El Salvador, is in the United States illegally and is currently in immigration proceedings, officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday.
The charging documents do not cite a motive in the slaying in the park, but investigators believe that the suspects had planned to carry it out for about two weeks.
They also alleged that Lopez-Abrego helped dig the grave and “waited near the edge of the wood line with a handheld walkie-talkie radio to alert the other suspects of the victim’s arrival.” He also used a 15-inch knife in the attack, according to police.
Investigators said the victim was a Hispanic man, about 5-foot-2 and weighing 126 pounds. He had short, dark brown hair.
At the time of the killing, the victim was wearing a gray sweatshirt with “First United Methodist Church Laurel” written on the upper left side.
A rosary or necklace was also found on his body, said police, who had previously distributed photos of the victim’s sweatshirt and muddied blue shorts in an effort to identify his remains.