Police have arrested a suspect on a cruise ship in Alaska and charged him with a double murder after he confessed to killing a Maryland couple found slain on Mother’s Day, police said Sunday.
Montgomery County police announced Scott Tomaszewski, 31, of Rockville, Maryland, was arrested Saturday in Juneau, Alaska, based on a warrant from Maryland. Tomaszewski was on a cruise ship docked in Juneau.
Richard Vilardo and Julianne Vilardo were found dead at their home by a relative on May 10. Police said an autopsy confirmed the couple was stabbed to death. Tomaszewski was a neighbor of the Vilardos.
Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger said Sunday that a burglary at the Vilardo’s home 17 years ago led investigators to Tomaszewski and to another recent burglary in the neighborhood over Easter weekend. Tomaszewski had apparently been housesitting for the Vilardos in April 1998 when their home was burglarized but was not a suspect in that case, Manger said.
“That 17-year-old connection ultimately led us to Scott Tomaszewski,” Manger said during a news conference Sunday.
Police searched Tomaszewski’s cabin on the ship and the home where he lived with his parents in Maryland and recovered evidence from both searches. During simultaneous searches in Alaska and Maryland, police recovered items linking Tomaszewski to the Vilardo homicides, including blood-soaked money in his wallet, Manger said.
“Upon being questioned by Montgomery County detectives, who had traveled to Juneau, Mr. Tomaszewski confessed to the killings,” the police chief said.
Detectives described Tomaszewski’s reaction as being “very matter of fact” with little emotional reaction to his arrest, Manger said.
Tomaszewski’s motive in the killings was not clear, police said.
“We believe that he broke into the house,” Manger said. “We don’t know at this point what his intentions were, but we have evidence that there was a burglary.”
Investigators don’t believe anyone else was involved in the killing at this point.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett praised police for their fast action in making an arrest. “We’ve acted, and we’ve acted quickly,” he said.
Tomaszewski is charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and burglary. He is being detained for the Easter burglary and for the murder of the Vilardos, said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
Tomaszewski will not appear before a judge until Monday, prosecutors said.
Tomaszewski will likely be brought back to Maryland and could appear in Montgomery County district court as soon as later this week if he waives extradition, said State’s Attorney John McCarthy. Prosecutors will likely present evidence to a grand jury for indictment, McCarthy said.