Detectives are focusing on cellphones stolen from the Savopoulos family’s Northwest Washington home, hoping to identify additional suspects from the phones’ locations and the contents of texts and calls made before and after the violent deaths of three family members and a housekeeper.
Court documents unsealed Wednesday also show that police are taking an interest in an iPhone belonging to Savvas Savopoulos’s assistant, who collected and dropped off a $40,000 ransom before the killings and then, according to police, lied to detectives about the details. He had been acting on a request that Savopoulos made, police believe, while the family was being held captive.
The new details come from a set of applications for search warrants police filed in the May 14 killings of Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy, 47; their son, Philip, 10; and their housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa, 57.
Police have charged one person in connection with the case — Daron Dylon Wint, 34 — but have said in court documents that they think others helped hold the family hostage for at least 19 hours starting the evening of May 13. Police said the victims were killed and their stately home on Woodland Drive was burned after the money was delivered.
The fire was discovered about 1:15 p.m. May 14.
Authorities initially said there were no signs of a forced break-in, but one warrant says there is evidence that someone entered the house by breaking a window in a set of French doors. Detectives found a boot print and are searching for footwear that might match the tread pattern. Police did not respond to questions but have said it was initially difficult to distinguish damage done by firefighters and that caused by the attacker or attackers. The court documents say the tread from the boot does not match those worn by firefighters.
Many questions remain as to the motive and whether police have identified other suspects. D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier has said that Wint once worked for Savvas Savopoulos’s American Iron Works, but no other ties have been discovered or made public.
Search warrants of vehicles linked to the capture of Wint provide some additional details of items police are looking for in connection with the captivity and slayings. Police said they are searching for clothing or shoes with blood on them, credit cards and other paperwork from the home, weapons “that could be used to inflict blunt-force trauma,” duct tape used to bind hands and feet, digital recordings from surveillance cameras in the home and money wrappers. Calls to the D.C. Public Defender Service, which represents Wint, were not immediately returned.
The court documents, for the first time, publicly identify Savopoulos’s assistant as Jordan Wallace, 28, whose job was to drive and perform odd jobs. A reporter’s efforts to locate Wallace the past week for comment were unsuccessful.
He initially told police that his boss called him the morning of May 14 and told him to get the money, according to court documents. He said he watched Savopoulos’s accountant get the money from a bank in Hyattsville and then saw him put it in a manila envelope, which he took to the house. He put it on the seat of a locked red car inside the Savopouloses’ garage, the documents say.
But he later told police, according to court documents, that his boss contacted him the night before, on May 13, and instructed him to collect the money. He never saw the bank transaction and said the accountant handed him the $40,000 in four bundles in a red bag. He said he later put the money into the envelope and that the red car was unlocked when he put it inside.
Police will not say why Wallace had two versions of his account. Text messages found by police and obtained by The Washington Post show that Wallace sent a text to Savopoulos at 8:30 p.m. May 13: “Got your message, I’ll call you once I get the package.”
The next day, police said, Wallace texted and called several people, including a woman to whom he sent a photo of the red bag and money at 9 a.m. “Daaaamn,” the woman responded. “I wonder how much it is?” Wallace responded, “40,” to which the woman texted back, “Jesus.”
At 10:26 a.m., the police records show, Wallace texted Savopoulos: “Package delivered.”
Wallace then drove to Virginia to work on one of his boss’s projects, a martial arts studio. The fire was discovered about 1:15 p.m., and police say Wallace was in Chantilly at the time. He learned about the fire from someone at American Iron Works, and he texted Amy and Savvas Savopoulos several times as he drove to their home.
“Hey ms Amy are you ok, if so you need to get home I got a call that your house is on fire,” police records say he wrote.
By that time, police said, the family was already dead.
Jennifer Jenkins and Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.