NEW YORK -- A man suspected of slashing a 25-year-old youth soccer coach to death and slicing off his ear last weekend on a New York City street fled to Mexico City on Tuesday, a law enforcement official said.
Orlando Orea, also known as Orlando Gutierrez or Orlando Estevas, bought a one-way ticket on an Aero Mexico flight with cash moments before it was scheduled to leave from Kennedy International Airport on Tuesday morning, according to the official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
Detectives discovered Orea's name at about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and immediately placed him on a no-fly list, but he already was gone, the official said. Orea, 32, is suspected of killing Michael Jones at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday after the two men were seen together, possibly arguing, on 14th Street in Union Square, one of Manhattan's busiest neighborhoods, the official said.
Jones, 25, had been out with his girlfriend earlier but they parted around midnight, police said. Police were called to the bloody scene where Jones lay on the street. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Liverpool, England, native was a coach with the New York Red Bulls Youth Training Program. He lived in West Harrison, in Westchester County.
Police late Sunday released surveillance footage of the suspected slasher, a man with a ponytail wearing a dark jacket. The motive remains unclear, but it's possible it was a case of mistaken identity, police said. The suspect, who lived in Queens, was in an earlier fight at a nearby bar that may have involved a woman. And he was apparently seen by witnesses with a knife in the bar, the official said. The suspect left, then encountered Jones on the street.
It's not clear what, if any, ties Orea has to Mexico.
The New York Red Bulls, a Major League Soccer team, plan to hold a memorial on Wednesday in Westchester County.
Jones' father, Perry, 50, of Tarleton, near Liverpool, told the Daily News of New York that he wanted his son's body returned 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 newspaper.