Pizza Crust, Missing $40K & the Smell of Gasoline – How Cops Are Piecing Together D.C. Mansion Murders
"I hope we play a part in catching who did this," a Domino's employee tells PEOPLE
On late Wednesday evening, police finally identified a suspect in the homicide of businessman Savvas Savopoulos, his wife Amy, their 10-year-old son Philip and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, who were found dead last Thursday following a fire at the family’s multimillion-dollar home in Woodley Park. And it’s all thanks to a piece of pizza crust.
A Metropolitan Police Department source confirmed to PEOPLE that they recovered 34-year-old Daron Dylon Wint’s DNA from a pizza crust inside a box in the home’s kitchen after pizza was delivered to the upscale neighborhood while the Savopoulos family was held captive.
The discovery has left the staff of a local Domino’s Pizza shocked. “We’re all really freaked,” an employee, who asked not to be identified, tells PEOPLE. “Everyone is talking about it at work.”
He adds that he doesn’t believe the delivery person ever came in contact with anyone at the family’s home. “No one came to the door to pay for the order,” the employee says. “Money was just left outside in an envelope. ”
Though the staff is feeling a little on edge, the employee says that he’s thankful they were able to provide a break in the case. “Maybe it could crack the case, you know? I hope it does. I hope we play a part in catching who did this,” he says.
“When you deliver pizza, it’s always in the back of your mind, you could get robbed. You could get attacked. Then to think the people inside the house are the ones being attacked. Man, that blows my mind. In this neighborhood, too. This is not the neighborhood you expect that to happen.”
Pursuing All Leads
Authorities are operating under the assumption that more people than just Wint, who is wanted for murder one while armed, were involved the quadruple homicide, the police source says.
Law enforcement reportedly believe Wint may be in New York City.
Police are looking into whether he had any connection to the Savopoulos family or the two housekeepers involved in the case. “We are pursuing all leads as we investigate this case,” the source says. “At this point, we have not eliminated anyone as a suspect, and are thoroughly looking into what happened. We are going where the evidence leads us.”
Another lead in the case is the $40,000 in cash that was apparently delivered to the Savopouloses’ home on Thursday before they died. That money is missing.
Nelitza Gutierrez, the couple’s part-time housekeeper, reportedly told Fox 5 that an assistant was scheduled to drop off the money at the house that morning to pay for the opening of a martial arts center in Chantilly, Virginia.
However, she tells PEOPLE that she “didn’t know anything about the money. The assistant was the one who brought it to the house, I didn’t have anything to do with that.”
She adds: “I just take care of the house. Savvas was the one who knew what was happening with the money. He was a good businessman. I did not know anything about it.”
Gutierrez says she did tell police about receiving a suspicious voicemail from Savopoulos the night before the fire telling her to stay home because his wife was sick.
“I want to find out who did this and I want to help with everything that I know,” she says. “All day long, I think, ‘Who would do this horrible thing to the family?’ I don’t have any clue. They were a very nice, loving, generous family. I feel so bad for them. I can’t sleep well, I can’t eat well. Every morning when I wake up, it’s like a nightmare. It’s very hard, and I am trying to be strong.”
The Scene of the Crime
One of the victims, a female, was still alive at the scene when firefighters finally got the blaze under control. She was rushed to the hospital but was later pronounced dead, the police source says.
The source also confirms that Philip, the Savopouloses’ 10-year-old son, was likely tortured in an effort to get money from his wealthy father. He was found in his bed, burned beyond recognition with multiple lacerations.
The four victims were found in different rooms throughout the house, multiple sources confirm to PEOPLE. “There was a strong smell of accelerant on the property. It smelled like gasoline,” a firefighter on the scene says. “The fire was actually not all that big; we had it under control pretty quickly, but it took some time for it to go out completely.”
He adds: “The fire never got hot enough to destroy the bodies, so I think the cops will be able to figure out how they all died. I’ve seen fires that were hot enough to destroy a body, but this one didn t get anywhere close to that.”
The firefighter says Figueroa was found first. After they made the discovery, the majority of firefighters were told to leave so that they wouldn’t contaminate the scene of the crime.
“The last one we heard about was the kid, who was in a bedroom by himself,” he says. “We were like, ‘Oh my God, someone would kill a kid?’ ”
• Reporting by SUSAN KEATING and STEVE HELLING
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.