Shortly before four people were found slain in a multimillion-dollar house in Northwest D.C. last week, someone delivered $40,000 in cash to the home, sources close to the investigation told News4.
Police believe three family members -- including a 10-year-old boy -- and a housekeeper were murdered Thursday, the day the cash arrived at the home.
The family had likely been kept bound and threatened overnight, sources tell News4. The cash had been withdrawn from an account at the company where one of the victims was CEO, the sources said.
Sometime after the cash arrived, the home was set on fire, leading to the discovery of the bodies.
The news of a cash delivery is the latest revelation in a case that seems almost unimaginable in its brutality and in its location. It happened in the 3200 block of Woodland Drive NW in Woodley Park, a neighborhood of security systems and landscaped lawns just blocks from the vice president's home and near the National Cathedral.
Savvas Savopoulos, 46; his wife, Amy Savopoulos, 47; their son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57, were found dead after the home was set on fire. Three of the victims had been beaten and stabbed to death, and some of the bodies smelled of gasoline, police said.
Philip's body was so badly burned that investigators aren't sure if he was injured before the fire was set, sources close to the investigation said. Philip's body was found in his room; three other bodies were found on the floor in one room.
The family Porsche was found burning in a church parking lot in suburban Maryland. The most-publicized clue so far: the grainy image of a person leaving the scene of the car fire, wearing black clothing.
Message from the Housekeeper
Savopoulos was the CEO of American Iron Works, which helped build the Verizon Center and CityCenterDC. Savopoulos and his wife, Amy, were well known in the neighborhood, often hosting parties for neighbors and friends, according to The Washington Post; the family had attended St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the neighborhood. Philip was a fourth-grader at St. Albans, the private school near St. Sophia and the National Cathedral; two daughters, Abigail and Katerina, were away at private boarding schools.
Neighbors who have been in the home said the family had an extensive and valuable art collection, which was on display a couple of years ago during the Christmas house tour put on by St. Albans.
The timeline of events that investigators are working from seems to match information from a longtime housekeeper for the Savopoulos family, who said she was a good friend of Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa.
Nelly, who didn't want her full name used for security reasons, owns her own cleaning company and worked for the family for more than two decades. Nelly allowed Figueroa to work with her at the Savopoulos family's home.
On that Wednesday, Figueroa texted Nelly to say she wanted to work at the home, and planned to finish by 3 p.m., Nelly told News4.
That evening, Nelly missed a call from Savvas Savopoulos, saying Figueroa was spending the night at the family's home. She heard the call on voice mail the next morning.
An Eerie Encounter
Nelly said Figueroa's husband went to the home Thursday morning to look for her and had an eerie encounter. No one answered the door when he knocked on it, but he told Nelly he had the feeling someone was standing just inside the closed door.
He went around the back of the house to knock again. As he did, Nelly said, Savopoulos called his cell phone. Savopoulos said Figueroa was OK and had spend the night, according to Nelly.
The fire at the home was reported about four hours later.
Nelly said Figueroa was hard-working and loved life. She'd come to the United States from El Salvador to earn money before planning to retire next year.
A GoFundMe page was created to help with her funeral costs.
Engine 28 pulling up on the auto fire earlier today.Posted by West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department on Thursday, May 14, 2015
Throughout the week, ATF agents and D.C. police have continued to gather evidence at the Woodley Park home. Meanwhile, in New Carrollton, authorities used a bloodhound to try to track down the person who torched a 2008 blue Porsche 911 stolen from the home on the day of the fire.
The Porsche was burned in the parking lot of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church. That's where surveillance video of a person of interest in the case was captured on a camera at a nearby banquet hall.
The person is difficult to see in the video. The person is dressed in dark clothing, including a hoodie with the hood pulled up.
Meanwhile, neighbors and friends are mourning the family -- and left dreading the idea of what they endured in the hours they may have been held captive in their own home.
"This was a beautiful family, a wonderful family with children," said Coco Palomeque, a friend of Amy's. She described Amy as "beautiful, vibrant, full of life and full of energy --ready to jump into any project to help others, to help her community."
"The community where they lived really loves them, and we are here to support them if they need us," she said.
Staff members Pat Collins, Meagan Fitzgerald, Mark Segraves were among those who contributed to this report.