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Suspect in killing of judge who presided over divorce case found dead in rural Maryland

A man walks past the Washington County Circuit Court building in downtown Hagerstown, Md., Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. Authorities say Maryland Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson was shot to death in the driveway of his home on Thursday night, had presided over the divorce case of the man now identified as a suspect in the killing. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)
Jon Elswick/AP
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AP
A man walks past the Washington County Circuit Court building in downtown Hagerstown, Md., Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. Authorities say Maryland Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson was shot to death in the driveway of his home on Thursday night, had presided over the divorce case of the man now identified as a suspect in the killing. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

WILLIAMSPORT, Md. (AP) — A man suspected of killing a Maryland judge last week was found dead Thursday, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities believe Pedro Argote, 49, was angry about losing custody of his children when he shot and killed the judge who presided over his divorce case. The Oct. 19 attack unfolded outside the home of Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Wilkinson.

Law enforcement launched a search for Argote immediately after the shooting. They discovered his Mercedes SUV in a wooded area in Williamsport, about 8 miles (13 kilometers) southwest of Hagerstown, where the judge was shot.

Authorities searched the area where the vehicle was found but concluded Argote wasn’t there. But officials said this morning they had returned to the area to conduct “additional evidentiary searches.”

Argote’s body was found in a heavily wooded area about a mile from the SUV, officials said. They did not release a suspected cause of death.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said there will be a news conference at 3 p.m. Thursday with updates on the case.