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Murder charge dropped in Fredericksburg homeless camp slaying


A murder charge against a man accused in a July homeless camp slaying has been dropped.

Virgilio Sanchez Reyes, 43, also known as Juan Antonio Zarco Melchor, was charged with killing 43-year-old Armando Escobar at a homeless camp in the Bragg Hill area of Fredericksburg.

Sanchez Reyes was arrested in Georgia in September and extradited back to Virginia later that month.

But Commonwealth’s Attorney LaBravia Jenkins dropped the murder charge earlier this month, court records show. Jenkins said she needed more evidence and couldn’t ethically continue to hold Sanchez Reyes without it.

Jenkins added that the investigation is ongoing and there is a possibility that the charge would be reinstated.

Sanchez Reyes, who has been deported to his native Mexico twice before, has been turned over to federal authorities to face illegal immigration-related charges.

Escobar was found dead July 25 in a tent in a homeless camp known as “La Montana.” He had been stabbed to death.

Detective Patrick Lamb’s investigation led to Sanchez Reyes, who left the area shortly after the slaying.

Police said Escobar had been in the Fredericksburg area since 2008 and had lived in the camp for more than a year. He worked as a laborer and had a wife, children and other family in his native El Salvador.

It remains unclear what led to the slaying.