A couple who were found dead inside their multimillion-dollar Washington, D.C., mansion that was set ablaze Thursday reportedly called and texted a housekeeper to not come to work that day.
The corporate executive, his wife, their 10-year-old son and another housekeeper were killed inside their home on Thursday afternoon and the fire was intentionally set, authorities say.
On Wednesday night, Savvas Savopoulos left a voicemail for one of the housekeepers, saying she should not come in Thursday because his wife Amy was sick, ABC News reported Monday.
In the message, Savopoulos also said a different housekeeper had “offered to stay and help her out because we’re going through some stuff with Phillip,” their son.
The next morning, Amy Savopoulos reportedly texted the housekeeper and confirmed her sickness, saying she should not visit.
Three hours later, the mansion that the couple lived in was engulfed in flames.
“I don’t understand why. God saved my life,” the housekeeper who received the text told ABC News.
The Washington Post identified the housekeeper as Nelitza Gutierrez and reported that the series of messages left her thinking something was amiss with her employers. Gutierrez had worked for the family for 20 years.
Savvas Savopoulos had told Gutierrez on Wednesday that his wife had plans to go out. But in the voicemail that night, he said Amy Savopoulos had been sick in bed, according to The Associated Press.
“It was something very suspicious because I felt his voice was really tense,” Gutierrez said in Spanish. “And it was different than what he had said to me before.”
Gutierrez said she called Amy Savopoulos after hearing the message “to see if she was OK, but she never answered.”
Gutierrez also knew Veralicia Figueroa, the housekeeper who was found dead. Gutierrez told police that Savvas Savopoulos left a message saying Figueroa was staying overnight to help as his son was home with an injury.
Gutierrez said she had never known Figueroa to stay overnight.
“Never, never did she stay over,” Gutierrez said.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier would not comment when asked by ABC News about the reported communications between the housekeeper and the couple.
Police documents show there were reports of unusual activity in the neighborhood. Neighbors reported seeing a man banging on the door of one home. There was an aggressive vacuum cleaner salesman at another house and reports of a prowler.
A witness also reported seeing what could have been Savopoulos’ blue Porsche speeding down the street the day before the deaths were discovered.
Over the weekend, D.C. police released a video of a person of interest in connection to the murders, which took place just blocks away from Vice President Joe Biden’s official residence.
At least three of the victims suffered stab wounds or blunt-force injuries and all four were homicide victims, Lanier said Friday.
The blue 2008 Porsche 911 that belonged to the couple was found abandoned and torched in a church parking lot in New Carrollton, Md., about 35 miles away from the home, MyFoxDC.com reports.
The video released by police shows a hooded figure carrying a white object while running away from the scene where the car was left. Police believe the suspect may have driven the car.
Lanier said police have gotten a steady stream of information from residents, but they are still looking for details on any suspicious activity from around the Savopoulos’ home from Wednesday through Thursday, as well as information on the car.
A $25,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest. Authorities are offering no details about who might have killed them or why.
The couple had two older daughters who, according to neighbors, attend boarding schools out of state. The daughters are safe and police know their whereabouts, a police spokeswoman said.
There was no sign of forced entry at the house, and investigators were likely to be there for several more days combing through evidence, Lanier said Friday. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was assisting in the investigation.
“There’s still a lot more that we don’t know,” she said.
Savvas Savopoulos was the president of American Iron Works, a building materials manufacturer based in Hyattsville, Md. A person who answered the phone at the company’s headquarters declined to comment earlier Friday, and a message left after Savopoulos was identified was not immediately returned.
Messages left for relatives of Savopoulos were not returned on Friday.
The family home, valued at $4.5 million, is located blocks away from Vice President Joe Biden’s official residence and near the Washington National Cathedral, which was preparing to host memorial services for the victims.
The couple’s son attended St. Albans School, a private school adjacent to the cathedral, where counselors were on hand to assist grief-stricken students and staff.