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Man held in remains case may be freed, lawyer says

Sliced body found on Duxbury road

The attorney for a Guatemalan man enmeshed in the bizarre death of a countryman in Plymouth County said Tuesday that his client may soon be freed from jail and that authorities have identified someone else as a suspect.

The client, Jose Milthon Freddy Azurdia-Montenegro, 55, was charged with misleading police in the case of a man whose remains were found last week in a cardboard box in Duxbury.

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Estuardo Leonel Melgar Perez, 44, arrived in the United States on a flight from Honduras on July 25, two days before his remains were found, according to the office of Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz. Perez had a 14-inch incision bisecting his abdomen that may have been made to empty the contents of his stomach.

Prosecutors alleged Monday that Azurdia-Montenegro misled them several times during questioning, including that he first denied knowing the victim but then later admitted he had known him for about five or six years.

Scott Bradley, who was appointed this week to represent Azurdia-Montenegro, said that “police seem to have a clear suspect who they believe participated or committed the murder, and it’s not my client.”

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A spokeswoman for Cruz declined to comment on Bradley’s assertion and said officials are still awaiting the cause of death from the medical examiner’s office.

Azurdia-Montenegro pleaded not guilty in Brockton District Court, where bail was set at $10,000 cash, money that Bradley said his family and friends are working to gather so he can be released from jail.

“He doesn’t belong in jail because they found a dead body and he knew the guy,’’ Bradley said in a telephone interview.

He said his client has surrendered his passport and will not try to leave the United States until he can do so legally, just as he entered the country.

In an e-mail to the Globe, an official at the Guatemalan Consular General’s office in Rhode Island said the office is working to ensure that there is communication between Azurdia-Montenegro’s lawyer and his family in Guatemala and that Azurdia-Montenegro is properly treated while in the US court system.

Court papers have been impounded at the request of prosecutors, but Bradley said he has been given access and it is clear that investigators have identified a suspect by a nickname.

Bradley said he is confident the only role his client can play in the investigation is to possibly help police develop a timeline of the victim’s whereabouts before his death.

Bradley said that investigators have obtained business records from a Guatemalan national running an auto shop in Brockton that confirm that Azurdia-Montenegro was in the United States to buy cars and ship them back to Guatemala.

“The information they have is that he was involved in a legal business,’’ the attorney said.

He also noted that his client cooperated with authorities when they stopped him at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he was preparing to board a flight home.

Travis Andersen
can be reached at Travis.Andersen@globe.com. John R. Ellement
can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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