Suspect in woman's death taught her Spanish, police say
Man wanted in killing of accounting professor in Bethesda
A man who taught Spanish to the Bethesda professor found dead in her Massachusetts Avenue home in October is wanted for her beating death, Montgomery County police reported Friday.
A warrant was issued within the last couple of months to charge Jorge Rueda Landeros, 41, of Juarez, Mexico, with first-degree murder in the death of Sue Ann Marcum, 52, said Montgomery County police Capt. David Gillespie, who leads the department's Major Crimes Division.
"I can't comment on their relationship other than to say they were known to be friends. We've been told he taught her Spanish at some point," Gillespie said Friday. He said police don't know where or when they met, and he would not comment on whether they had a romantic relationship. Gillespie also would not comment on a motive for the homicide.
An Interpol notice says Landeros is wanted for "crimes against life and health" in Montgomery County. The wanted notice lists his nationality as Mexican and American, and Gillespie said Landeros travels between Mexico and the United States on a regular basis.
Gillespie said Friday that police decided to reveal the warrant to ease the fears of the community and because Landeros "knows we have an arrest warrant out for him."
"When we have a crime of this magnitude, people want to know if the victim knew the person or if it was a random crime," he said. "We want to bring the case to a successful conclusion. We want to arrest Mr. Landeros. We got to the point that he knows he is wanted the element of surprise is gone. We want this known to the community that this wasn't a random act that this is a man that was known to the victim."
Hundreds of people mourned Marcum's death in vigils in her neighborhood and at American University, where she taught accounting at the Kogod School of Business.
Marcum was found dead on the first floor of her home in the 6200 block of Massachusetts Avenue on Oct. 25. Police say someone forced his way in through a rear window.
The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide and said she died by blunt force trauma and asphyxiation.
Police initially described the homicide as a burglary gone wrong and focused their investigation on Deandrew Hamlin, 18, of Washington, D.C., who was found driving Marcum's stolen Jeep. He pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a vehicle in the District in April.
"At the time, we had Hamlin in her vehicle 13 hours after the homicide," Gillespie said.
Investigators are still interested in how Hamlin came into possession of the vehicle, Gillespie said.
But Landeros "had been on our radar from the beginning" Gillespie said.
The Washington Post reported Friday that Landeros has written to acquaintances that he is aware of the police investigation.
Landeros "does claim his innocence" in the postings, which were written after police obtained their warrant, Gillespie said.
Montgomery County police are working with federal and Mexican authorities to arrest Landeros.
He would not comment on whether there could be more suspects in Marcum's death.