A sex offender accused of killing a Maryland probation and parole officer has been arrested near the West Virginia-Kentucky border after a traffic stop.

Montgomery County Police said Saturday evening that U.S. Marshals caught 54-year-old Emanuel Edward Sewell traveling on I-64 near Hurricane, West Virginia.

Sewell, a Chevy Chase resident, was wanted in the death of Agent Davis Martinez. Investigators found Martinez at around 5:50 p.m. Friday, when police were dispatched to the 2800 block of Terrace Drive in Chevy Chase to check on the agent, who had not reported to work after a scheduled appointment with Sewell. Upon arrival, police found Martinez in the apartment. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The medical examiner has determined the manner of Martinez’s death was homicide. He suffered multiple injuries, police said. Martinez, 33, had worked for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for six years and was assigned to the Silver Spring field office.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Montgomery County Police say 54-year-old Emanuel Edward Sewell, a sex offender wanted on a second-degree murder charge, may have a parole and probation badge. Police say Sewell attacked and killed Parole Agent Davis Martinez on May 30, 2024. (Montgomery County Police)

The president of Martinez’s union blamed perpetual staffing shortages and a lack of critical attention to employee safety by the correctional services agency. He said it’s now up to agency Secretary Carolyn Scruggs to act.

“This is on her and her department and the people around her,” Patrick Moran said. “Because we’ve been beating this drum again for a decade, and they don’t seem to ever notice until something tragic happens.”

Davis Martinez, a six-year veteran of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, was found dead May 30, 2024, after not reporting to work after a scheduled appointment. Montgomery County Police were searching for a registered sex offender to question him about Martinez's death.
Davis Martinez, a six-year veteran of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, was found dead May 30, 2024, after not reporting to work after a scheduled appointment. Montgomery County Police arrested a registered sex offender near the West Virginia-Kentucky line and charged him with Martinez's death. (Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services/Face)

Sewell was not there when police arrived, setting off a search. In the hours after Martinez’s death, the state issued a rare Blue Alert, notifying the public of the search for Sewell. Blue Alerts are issued when a law enforcement officer is shot or killed and often include a description of the person being sought, the type of vehicle they are driving and available identifying information.

As the news broke, condolences for his family and his fellow agents poured into the comments section of a 2021 Facebook video featuring Martinez. In the brief clip, Martinez said his team worked well together and he thought of them “like a second family.”

One commenter wrote: “A sad day for DPSCS. Prayers and comfort to his family. Prayers for safety for our Parole and Probation family.”

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“Sending condolences and many prayers to the Martinez family and my whole DPP family!! This is absolutely heartbreaking,” wrote another.

Moran, who heads the state employees’ union AFSCME Maryland Council 3, said he has heard from multiple sources that there was a history of concerns with Sewell that should have warranted sending two agents to check on him. However, ongoing staffing shortages may not have afforded more than one agent to conduct the visit, he said.

“This is tragic, not only for this officer and the workforce, but obviously their family and the community in which they lived and served, and that’s why this agency has got to do better,” Moran said.

Maryland’s Division of Parole and Probation is one of many divisions under the corrections department. Moran said he spoke with Scruggs Saturday morning.

“It wasn’t a pleasant conversation because we’ve had this conversation year after year, and she’s been in the position for two years now, and they still treat this as just a minor part of a department.”

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The correctional services agency did not respond to Moran’s comments Saturday. But in a joint statement released with Gov. Wes Moore, Scruggs expressed condolences and called parole and probation agents “unsung heroes.”

“We extend our deepest condolences to Agent Martinez’s family and co-workers. His professionalism, diligence and resilience will remain engraved in our hearts,” Scruggs said.

Moore acknowledged Martinez’s service and mourned his tragic death.

“Agent Davis Martinez served our state with distinction and our communities are safer because of him,” Moore said. “My heart goes out to his friends, family, loved ones, and colleagues — our whole state mourns with you after the loss of one our own in the line of duty.”

Scruggs and Moore said Martinez is the first Maryland Division of Parole and Probation agent in the state to be killed by a client while on duty.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Court records show Sewell was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1997 after pleading guilty to a first-degree sex offense. Sewell was released from prison in 2021, according to police.

Sewell filed multiple federal lawsuits challenging disciplinary actions against him and complaining about medical care at various state prisons. Each of the lawsuits was dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow, in a 2013 opinion dismissing a case over searches of inmate mail, referred to Sewell as “a frequent litigator in this court.”

Police described Sewell as dangerous and warned the public not to approach him if they spot him or his vehicle. They also said Sewell may have had Martinez’s badge with him.

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Emanuel Edward Sewell’s first name.