BROCKTON, Mass. (AP) — A man pleaded not guilty Monday to misleading police investigating the death of another Guatemalan man whose remains were found in a box on a street corner, with a large incision on his abdomen.
Jose Milthon Freddy Azurdia-Montenegro, 55, was arraigned in Brockton District Court and ordered detained on $10,000 bail. He also had to surrender his passport.
The remains of Estuardo Leonel Melgar Perez, 44, were found in a box in the South Shore town of Duxbury on July 27.
Prosecutors said Monday that someone cut the body open and removed some “contents.” They didn’t elaborate. Police had said Melgar Perez had a 14-inch incision on his abdomen. The cause and manner of death remain under investigation.
Authorities didn’t release details of the allegations against Azurdia-Montenegro.
His public defender, Scott Bradley, said the two men were acquaintances in the car buying and selling business, but Azurdia-Montenegro didn’t know anything about Melgar Perez’s death. Bradley said both men came to the U.S. to buy cars for resale in their native Guatemala, but they came here separately.
“At best he’s a witness who had some information and now they want to keep him in the United States indefinitely,” Bradley said.
Both Melgar Perez and Azurdia-Montenegro were scheduled to leave the U.S. this past Saturday on the same flight to Honduras, authorities said.
Melgar Perez flew from Honduras to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on July 25, officials said. Two days later, Duxbury police responded to a report of a suspicious box. Police said the box was partially open and a strong odor was coming from it.
The Department of Homeland Security used fingerprints to identify the remains as those of Melgar Perez.