A man who recently lost custody of his children in a highly contentious divorce case before a Washington County Circuit Court judge is now the subject of a manhunt following the fatal shooting of the judge later the same day.

The sought-after individual is Pedro Argote, aged 49, who is described as 5’7″ in height, weighing around 130 lbs, with black hair and brown eyes. He may be operating a silver 2009 Mercedes GL450, bearing Maryland registration plates 4EH0408. Court records confirm that he had a hearing before Judge Andrew Wilkinson on a divorce matter shortly before the tragic incident occurred.

The court records shed light on Argote’s troubled personal life. He had initially filed for divorce in June 2022, while he and his wife continued to reside separately in the same home for two years. Subsequently, Argote temporarily moved to West Virginia before obtaining an apartment in Frederick in April.

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Who is Eugenia Argote?

Eugenia Argote is an Account Manager at One Squared.

In an order issued by Judge Wilkinson, it was directed that there should be no contact between Argote and his children or wife. The judge granted Argote’s wife sole use of the family’s home and ordered Argote not to enter the residence. Additionally, Argote was instructed to pay $1,120 in child support per month.

Argote was also required to make the family’s Mercedes vehicle available to his wife when needed. The divorce proceedings occurred amid the backdrop of financial challenges faced by the couple as they jointly operated a digital advertising business.

Moreover, Argote’s wife had filed for a domestic violence protection order against him in June 2022. In her petition, she cited instances of financial control and attempts at violence, including an incident involving their daughter in October 2020. While she had sought assistance from an intimate partner violence center in 2012, she claimed to have never received adequate support to leave the relationship due to fear for her children’s custody.

The petition highlighted her efforts to save money and escape the relationship, yet Argote allegedly interfered with her attempts. She expressed her desperation and her concerns about his potential pursuit of custody.

Also Read: Judge Andrew Wilkinson murder: Suspect Pedro Argote’s wife had filed for domestic violence protection order against him

A list of their property revealed that Argote owned a 9mm Glock handgun, a fact also mentioned by his wife in the domestic violence petition. A temporary protection order was initially granted but was later dismissed at her request.

Argote is currently wanted in connection with the shooting death of Judge Andrew Wilkinson, who was found injured in a driveway when deputies responded to a shooting report in Hagerstown. Despite being transported to Meritus Medical Center, Judge Wilkinson did not survive his injuries. The investigation is ongoing, with authorities conducting checks at the homes of judges and magistrates out of an abundance of caution.

The Maryland Judiciary expressed its deep sorrow for the loss of Judge Wilkinson and is actively cooperating with law enforcement to resolve this matter and ensure the safety of all judicial staff and visitors.