Authorities could spend the next week or even longer collecting evidence inside the burned house in Northwest Washington in which three members of a family and a housekeeper were killed last week, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said on Tuesday.
The chief, speaking on her monthly appearance on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt, described the crime scene as complex. “We’ve gotten a lot of good information,” Lanier said, while adding it is “premature to comment on the status of the case.”
The deaths were discovered Thursday afternoon after firefighters responded to a blaze at the house in the 3200 block of Woodland Drive NW. Pronounced dead were Savvas Savopoulos, 46, his wife Amy, 47, their 10-year-old son Philip, and the housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa, 57, of Silver Spring. Two Savopoulos daughters were away in boarding school at the time.
Police have said little about how the victims were killed, other than that three had wounds. Authorities also have said the fire was intentionally set, and that a Porsche owned by the couple was found later on Thursday burned in a church parking lot in Prince George’s County.
Savvas Savopoulos was the president and CEO of American Iron Works, which supplies metal to large scale building projects across the region. He and his wife were active in Washington social circles and with fund raising. The funeral for the Savopoulos family is June 1 at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Northwest Washington. Figueroa’s body will be flown back to El Salvador for burial.
Lanier said tips are coming in as detectives painstakingly go through the house, with evidence collection challenged by the fire and the efforts by firefighters to put it out. “Detectives have made tremendous progress,” Lanier said on the call-in show. “I feel really good about the leads we’re working.”
Lanier declined to discuss any possible theories, saying that at any moment scenarios can change. Police have released a video of a person of interest who may be linked to the Porsche that went missing. Police also are looking into text messages and voice mails left on a second housekeeper’s cell phone warning her as early as Wednesday to stay away from the home.
Lanier said on NewsTalk that modern-day investigations take time. “A large part of what we do now is puzzle piece after puzzle piece,” she said. “There are digital images that have to be recovered. Lots of videos that have to be viewed. DNA that has to be collected and tested.. . .All that has be to be combed through before we’re in a position to charge someone.”
The chief said the detectives are “passionate about this one” particularly because there is “a child involved.” Of a possible motive or suspect, Lanier said, “We’re holding all judgement until all the evidence is in.”