The night manager of the Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon in Lexington Park was found shot to death Thursday morning, apparently the victim of a robbery. Two suspects, including a teenage boy, were arrested in Stafford County about eight hours later, authorities said.
Lt. Brian Cedar of the Maryland State Police said Janet Reginato, 40, was found dead in the rear office of the restaurant, on Route 235. She had been shot in her upper body.
Relatives reported Reginato, who lived in Great Mills, missing after she did not return home after her shift Wednesday night.
About 7 a.m. Thursday, police found her body, Cedar said.
No money has been reported missing from the restaurant, but Cedar said all signs point to robbery as the motive.
He said the killing must have occurred after midnight when Reginato was alone closing the restaurant. He said it was unclear how the suspects entered the restaurant, noting that they might have broken in or approached Reginato as she left the building.
After talking to members of Reginato's family and some of her friends, authorities zeroed in on Richard R. Moore, 21, of Great Mills and a 15-year-old, also from Great Mills.
Cedar said Moore was acquainted with Reginato. Moore and the youth, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, are not related, he said. "We're still not sure what that relationship is," Cedar said.
He said that after the shooting, the pair took Reginato's vehicle. Authorities broadcast a lookout for the car, and Stafford County sheriff's officers said that a resident who was not aware of the slaying called the sheriff's office to report a suspicious vehicle in northern Stafford County.
A sheriff's dispatcher deduced that the Toyota with temporary tags was Reginato's, according to the Stafford County Sheriff's Office.
When police approached them, Moore and the youth fled on foot. After 10 minutes, with the help of two police dogs, both suspects were caught in a wooded area, Stafford authorities said.
Cedar said officers recovered what they believe is the weapon in the killing in Stafford County. He declined to provide details about its discovery, saying the information is part of the continuing investigation.
Both suspects were being held without bond at the Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford County, awaiting extradition to Maryland on charges of murder and motor vehicle theft, Cedar said.
The slaying is St. Mary's County's first homicide of the year. Last year, the county saw three homicides, all of them related to domestic disputes, Cedar said.