Hundreds gathered to pay their respects to slain New York Red Bull soccer coach Michael Jones, as reports surfaced yesterday that his alleged killer fled to Mexico.
As reported by the NY Daily News:
Orlando Orea got on an AeroMexico jet 12 hours before cops asked him to be put on a federal no-fly list.
Law enforcement authorities are working with the FBI attaché in Mexico City and the U.S. Marshals in Mexico to catch Orea.
As the dragnet stretched beyond the U.S. border, hundreds of friends and colleagues paid tribute to Jones at a Westchester County church.
“His love and passion for soccer made him a cherished member of our family,” Jerome De Bontin, general manager of the Red Bulls, said of Jones, who coached in the soccer team’s youth training program.
“He was extremely well liked, not only by the kids he coached, but also his friends and his peers,” De Bontin told mourners at the First Baptist Church in White Plains.
Jones’ girlfriend, Bryeanna Murphy, sobbed as friends described how the 25-year-old Brit was idolized by the children he coached.
“He was more than just a great coach, he was a great friend,” said Lucas Kaehr, 9, who had been coached by Jones since he was 4. “I loved coach Mike.”
During the service, a phone message from Jones’ father was played for the more than 500 mourners at the standing-room-only service.
“He enjoyed being in America,” Perry Jones said of his son “He loved his job. He loved the people and all the friends he made there.”
As for efforts to capture Orea, NYPD officials began using diplomatic channels to track him down in Mexico.
A spokesman for the Mexican Federal Law Enforcement Agency told the Daily News they were not involved in the manhunt and referred all questions to Interpol.
Mexico has an extradition treaty with the U.S. in cases where there is no possibility of a death penalty. The death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in New York State in 2004.
Jones was stabbed to death early Sunday morning on the sidewalk about a block from Bunga’s Den bar. Orea mistook him for another man he had an altercation with.
Photo courtesy of Richard Harbus for the New York Daily News: Bryeanna Murphy, girlfriend of slain soccer coach Michael Jones, did not speak after the service.