Oxon Hill man is held in abduction, robbery of Columbia woman November incident began at Va. hotel

February 25, 1996|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

An Oxon Hill man is being held without bail in the November kidnapping-robbery of a Columbia woman who was abducted from a Virginia hotel, driven to Washington where drugs were bought and taken to her home, where she and a housemate were robbed, Howard County police said.

Henry G. Simpson, 35, of the 1400 block Dunwoody Ave., Oxon Hill, was arrested Friday morning in the Prince George's County Detention Center where he was being held on unrelated charges, Sgt. Steven Keller said.

Mr. Simpson was brought to Howard County, charged in the November incident, then returned to Prince George's County.

In Howard County, he is charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, armed robbery, theft, and assault and battery. Three other suspects are being sought.

Sharon Vuono, the Long Reach woman who was abducted in an elevator in the Days Inn in Springfield, Va., while attending a conference, said she was relieved by the arrest.

Her ordeal had been "terrifying," she said.

Ms. Vuono was kidnapped at gunpoint by two people who entered her elevator on Nov. 18, Howard police said. She was taken outside to a car, where two other people waited. The quartet drove into Washington, where they used money they stole from Ms. Vuono to buy heroin and crack cocaine, police said.

They used the drugs as they drove to Columbia, after obtaining Ms. Vuono's address. Two of the thieves forced her inside; confronted her housemate, Sherill Koontz; tied up both women; and stole cash, jewelry and a computer, police said. The women freed themselves and called officers.

Sgt. Keller said the similarities of the crimes in Howard and Prince George's led to a closer look at Mr. Simpson, and he was charged after he was identified by the victim.

Prince George's County Detention Center officials said Mr. Simpson was arrested Nov. 29 and had been in jail in Prince George's since then, charged with armed carjacking, robbery and sexual assault. Details of the crimes related to those charges were not available.

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