(NEW YORK) — A man suspected of murdering and mutilating a New York youth soccer coach has fled the country, according to police.
Michael Jones, 25, was stabbed numerous times in the chest, ear and neck in an attack that left blood on the sidewalk. He was left to die around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Authorities were reportedly close to making an arrest when suspect Orlando Orea, 32, managed to leave the country, according to ABC News’ New York station WABC.
Orea also goes by Orlando Gutierrez and Orlando Estevas.
When authorities discovered Orea’s name on Tuesday afternoon, they immediately put him on a no-fly list, but it was too late. He had gone to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and paid cash for a last minute Aero Mexico flight, according to WABC.
Jones was in his fifth season as a soccer coach for the Red Bulls’ youth training program. He is originally from Liverpool, England. Police do not believe robbery was the motive since Jones’ wallet and phone were found at the scene.
Detectives are looking into whether the killing may have been a case of mistaken identity. They are investigating whether there was a dispute at a bar in the area before the killing that did not involve Jones, according to WABC.
The suspect may have been in a dispute over a woman, ran out of the bar, saw Jones and possibly mistook him for the person involved in the argument.
Surveillance footage shows Jones walking near his attacker before the stabbing, but it is hard to tell if the two were having a conversation or exchanged any words.
The video shows a man walking away from the scene with long, dark hair in a ponytail. Police estimate he is between 25 and 30 years old.
Jones’ family lives in England and was shocked to hear about his death.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s like you feel it hasn’t happened and you’re going to wake up and it’s all a dream and you can wind the clock back so we’re not in this situation,” Jones’ father Perry Jones told the BBC. “But, obviously, we are and that’s not going to change.”
Jones had followed his passion for soccer to the U.S. and his father said Jones loved his New York lifestyle and was hoping to get a visa and build his life here.
Loved ones are gathering Wednesday in Westchester, N.Y. for a memorial service for Jones.
“He’s a great guy,” roommate and fellow coach Karl Hogan told WABC. “[An] honest guy and very passionate about his job and worked very hard, always thought about the kids.”
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