Prince George's police were still searching yesterday for clues in the mysterious and grisly slashings of three immigrants Wednesday morning, and a local victims' right group is raising money to send two of their bodies back home to Latin America.
Two of the men died after their throats were cut; the third was in stable condition yesterday. The men were sleeping on a grassy median in a parking lot of a Toys R Us store in Langley Park when they were attacked.
Detectives said that they know of no motive or suspects in the case but that they have increased patrols in the area and are passing out hundreds of "information wanted" fliers in English and Spanish asking witnesses to come forward.
They recovered a knife at the scene and are examining it for any connection to the attack.
Police said Cesar Mayorga, 27, of the same block as the toy store, and Anibal Hernandez Escobar Cruz, 28, of the 1300 block of Merrimac Drive in Langley Park, were killed about 6:50 a.m. They did not release the name of the third victim, who probably will be a witness in the case.
The men had probably passed out after drinking beer in the parking lot in the 8000 block of New Hampshire Avenue when they were attacked, police said. Relatives and friends said the men were in the lot almost every night.
The Gaithersburg-based Victims' Rights Foundation is trying to raise $20,000 to send the victims' bodies back to their native countries. Mayorga, from Guatemala, had a wife and three children there. Escobar, who is from Honduras, had a child in his homeland.
W. Gregory Wims, founder of the foundation, said he hopes to raise the money within two weeks. He plans to give each family at least $5,000 for transport of the bodies and burial; the remainder would go for medical expenses and other costs for the surviving victim.
"When we asked the families what they wanted, they said, 'A proper burial,' " Wims said. "So we'd like to help them with that."
One of the people who donated $500 yesterday was Boga Mbayo, a native of Congo and owner of a Gaithersburg custom framing store.
"I think this is very sad and troubling," Mbayo said. "I know how it is when you come to this country. You have to work very hard. My first job was selling flowers on the street. I feel like this could have been me.
"If I die, it would be my wish to have my body go back home, even though I'm an American citizen," he said. "It's good to have the body at home so the family can feel closure."
Another $500 donor is Galo Correa Jr., who owns an auto body shop in Rockville. Correa said he wanted to reach out to the families because he understands how hard it is to be an immigrant. His parents moved here from Ecuador when he was a year old.
"It's very difficult, especially when they really can't speak English," Correa said.
He said he has sensed fear around the Langley Park-Takoma Park area because of an increased gang presence. Police said they do not have evidence linking Wednesday's stabbings to gang activity.
"It's unbelievable that things like this happen," Correa said. "It's scary if you think about it."
To donate to the Victims' Rights Foundation, go to www.victimsrightsfoundation.org or send funds to 814 W. Diamond Ave., Suite 200, Gaithersburg, Md. 20878.