Vigil recalls day laborer who kept in contact with family in Guatemala
WTOP's Liz Anderson reports
WASHINGTON --He came to the United States a little more than two years ago. He was a husband and father, and lived with his six cousins.
At a vigil Wednesday evening, neighbors mourned the murder of 32-year-old Miguel Angel Barillas.
So who was he?
CASA de Maryland Executive Director Gustavo Torres remembered Barillas as one of the residents who would gather outside the organization's headquarters. Torres said he used the free Wii-Fii "to check emails and communicate with his family... in Guatemala because he didn't have access to Internet in his apartment. That's how I recall Miguel Angel."
Torres also says Barillas was a landscaper and worked as a day laborer. He had been in the country about two and a half years.
Barillas leaves a wife and two children in his native Guatemala, Torres said. "Unfortunately we just don't know what happened. He was not related with any gangs, he was not related with any crimes."
Langley Park resident Yecenia Martinez can empathize with Barillas' grieving family. She addressed residents at the vigil, and recalled the murder of her son seven years ago. He was 16, and was killed near the same location where Barillas was found. It took police three years to find her son's killer.
Through a translator, Martinez said it's important for community members to participate, stay active, and keep their ears open to find whoever committed this crime. Police also asked apartment residents to provide clues to help them solve it.
Captain David Lloyd with Prince George's County Police says someone saw Barillas lying outside early Wednesday morning and called 911. Police found him with upper body stab wounds. He was already dead when police arrived.
Immediately after the vigil, officers canvassed the neighborhood, going door to door in hopes of finding more information about his murder.
"The most important thing is for the community to bring information forward. If you know the gentleman, if you witnessed something, even if you're not sure please you can call Crime Solvers, you can call our homicide section." Lloyd also said those who don't feel comfortable talking to police can talk to personnel at CASA de Maryland.
"We have a good working relationship with them. If they want to stay anonymous that's one way to do it, through CASA, also Crime Solvers. There's a 25-thousand dollar reward."
Those with information about this case can call the Prince George's County Police Homicide division at 301-772-4925. To submit anonymous tips call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
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