A key suspect in the brutal murder of a 25-year-old youth soccer coach ran away to Mexico City on Tuesday.
The suspect, Orlando Orea, who also goes by the names Orlando Gutierrez and Orlando Estevas, purchased an Aero Mexico flight ticket paid in cash just moments before the plane took off from Kennedy International Airport Tuesday morning, an official told The Associated Press. Orea did not buy a return flight.
Detectives placed Orea on a no-fly list when they discovered his name that afternoon, 12 hours after Orea’s flight had already left.
Orea, 32, is an illegal immigrant and returned to his home country using his Mexican passport. He is suspected of murdering Michael Jones, 25, who was found slashed to death with his ear cut off around 4:30 a.m. Sunday. The men were seen together on a busy street corner in Manhattan that night.
Jones had gone out with his girlfriend that night, but the couple parted ways close to midnight. Police later found Jones laying on the sidewalk, and he was taken to Bellevue Hospital before being pronounced dead.
The suspect donned a dark jacket with his hair in a ponytail in the surveillance footage released by the police. Officials are unsure of the motive but believe it may have been a case of mistaken identity. The suspect was in a bar fight at Bunga’s Den close to the crime scene earlier than night, and witnesses saw him with a knife.
Jones was a coach with the New York Red Bulls Youth Training Program and lived in West Harrison in Westchester County, but he was originally from Liverpool, England.
The Major League Soccer team, the New York Red Bulls, held a memorial Wednesday honoring their friend in Westchester County.
Red Bulls coaches wore uniforms with the name “Jonesy” on the back comforting Bryeanna Murphy, Jones’ girlfriend, the New York Daily News reported.
Lucas Kaehr, 9, who Jones coached, said at the service, “He was more than just a great coach, he was a great friend. I loved coach Mike.”
During the service, Perry Jones spoke to the 500 mourners through a phone message.
“He enjoyed being in America. He loved his job. He loved the people and all the friends he made there,” Perry Jones said, according to the Daily News.
Perry Jones wants to bring his son’s body back home to England. “We just want to get Mike back here as quickly as we can really and finish off what’s going on in America,” Jones told the Daily News of New York.