A Montgomery County grand jury indicted Curtis M. Lopez on Thursday, charging him with murder and kidnapping in the deaths of 11-year-old William McQuain and his mother, Jane McQuain, 51, who was Lopez’s estranged wife.
The indictment in William’s death is the first time that Lopez has been charged with killing the boy, a sixth grader at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Germantown.
The discovery of Jane McQuain’s body in her second floor apartment on Briarcliff Terrace in Germantown on Oct. 12 set off a massive six-day search for William, who had not been seen at school or sports practices since Sept. 30. Police officers climbed through a window and found McQuain dead in her bedroom after a friend reported her missing.
An autopsy showed she had blunt force trauma to her head and had been stabbed twice in the back. McQuain’s Honda CR-V, a television and a lamp were missing from the apartment, police discovered.
McQuain’s work supervisor had received a “terse text message” from McQuain’s cell phone in “early October” saying she would not be coming to work, police and prosecutors disclosed Thursday as part of the indictment. Police say they now believe that text message was sent by Lopez.
William’s body was found Oct. 18 hidden in a wooded area in Clarksburg where police contend Lopez buried him. The boy’s skull had been crushed and a baseball bat that police believe was used as the murder weapon was found nearby, prosecutors said.
Lopez’s attorney, Alan C. Drew, said of the indictment: “I expected this.” In a previous hearing for Lopez shortly after his Oct. 13 arrest in Charlotte for murder in Jane McQuain’s death, Drew had sought bail for his client saying that he would appear in court and the case was “essentially circumstantial evidence.”
The estranged couple had stayed in touch and police tracked Lopez’s movements using cell phone records, they have said. A close friend of McQuain’s told the Post that she, her son and Lopez had taken a trip to the beach just before she was murdered and that McQuain had expressed fears that Lopez might harm her.
The grand jury indicted Lopez on two counts each of murder and kidnapping and one count of robbery, according to a statement by Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger and state’s attorney John J. McCarthy. The kidnapping counts stem from Lopez allegedly picking up William from a friend’s home after a sleepover and then driving with him to numerous sites in the county, prosecutors said. The sleepover occurred on the night his mother was killed, prosecutors contend.
Surveillance footage taken on Oct. 1 at a gas station shows Lopez and William together, said prosecutors, who allege that is the day William was killed. In earlier court appearances, scenes from a surveillance video showed William gliding on sneakers with wheels on them and later a man carrying a baseball bat that he puts into the back of an SUV, according to prosecutors who laid out a timeline in court.
Lopez will remain held without bond in the Montgomery County Detention Center. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the five charges on Jan. 6.
Cell phone records, according to authorities, put Lopez near where William’s body was found before he allegedly headed to Charlotte. Lopez had a girlfriend in North Carolina, police have said, and had told her he was coming north to pick up a car from his mother.
Authorities contend that before McQuain went missing, Lopez texted photographs of McQuain’s CR-V to his girlfriend.
When detectives reached Lopez on his phone after Jane McQuain’s body was discovered, he said he had not recently seen her and that he was in New Jersey, police have said.
But according to police records in North Carolina, Lopez’s girlfriend was involved in a car accident in Charlotte while driving McQuain’s CR-V after McQuain’s death.