A man suspected of slashing a 25-year-old youth soccer coach to death and slicing off his ear last weekend on a downtown 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 Airport early Tuesday morning, law enforcement sources said.
Detectives discovered Orea's name at about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and immediately placed him on a no-fly list, but he was already 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 arguing on 14th Street near Union Square, one of Manhattan's busiest neighborhoods.
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, the official said.
The suspect, who lived in Queens, was in an earlier fight at a nearby bar involving 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.
Once Orea is indicted in New York, local police can ask the US State Department to have Mexican authorities arrest him and extradite him back here. Detectives are already looking for Orea in Mexico City, sources said.
The New York Red Bulls, a Major League Soccer team, plan to hold a memorial 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.