Fugitive unit of FBI hunts man in assaults Rosedale resident accused of detaining, abusing 2 women

September 15, 1996|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police have enlisted the aid of the FBI's Fugitive Task Force as they expanded the search for a man accused of holding two prostitutes captive in a hidden torture chamber and sexually assaulting them at his Rosedale home.

But while authorities said they were following several leads, they released little detailed information about the subject of the manhunt, 57-year-old Richard Paul Elliott, a convicted kidnapper and sex offender.

"There is a coordinated effort using a tremendous amount of resources," said Bill Toohey, a county police spokesman.

"But it's still early in the investigation, and we have to be careful about what information we make public."

Elliott has been charged in warrants with kidnapping, first-degree sexual offenses and a handgun offense. The women -- ages 32 and 29 -- said they were picked up by Elliott on Pulaski Highway -- one of them Sept. 7, the other on Wednesday -- and kept shackled in the hidden basement room.

The women said they were threatened with death and forced to perform sexual acts. One of them slipped out of her chains and freed the other after Elliott left for work Thursday afternoon, they said.

The nearly-nude pair stumbled into a nearby public housing project, where they were comforted by residents until police arrived.

Witnesses said both women were shackled -- one in an elaborate contraption with chains holding a rubber ball in her mouth, and linked to neck, wrist and foot restraints.

Neither victim could be reached yesterday for information about the ordeal.

A woman answering the door at the home of the younger victim said she had packed up and moved in with her boyfriend.

"She said she was afraid because [Elliott] is still on the loose," said the woman, who declined to give her name.

Criminal record

Elliott has a lengthy criminal record, including a conviction in the 1968 kidnapping and rape of a 14-year-old girl from South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

He was sentenced to 60 years in prison after the girl -- who was held captive for a month -- testified that Elliott and another man took her to a Nevada campsite where they raped, beat and tortured her.

Elliott has also been convicted for participating in a mass jail escape and for conspiracy to transport securities across state lines.

The county's Career Criminal Unit has become involved in the search for Elliott, whose parole is to expire May 2, 2039.

Information on Internet

Toohey said officials placed Elliott's photo and information about the crime on the department's World Wide Web home page and that detectives spent time on the Internet in hopes of gathering more information about the fugitive.

Police combed Elliott's home on Odell Avenue for leads on where he may have gone. Authorities were not restricting their search to Maryland.

The FBI task force is made up of regional agents who pull together all of the bureau's resources while coordinating with local police jurisdictions, Toohey said.

Elliott has also been listed as a fugitive in the FBI's National Crime Information Center -- a computer system used by law enforcement agencies across the country.

Additional warrant sought

Special Agent Larry Foust, a spokesman for the FBI, said officials expect to obtain a federal unlawful-flight warrant against Elliott tomorrow on the presumption that he may have fled the state.

"We generally deal with it as if the person has left the area," Foust said.

"We are there to assist the local authorities in bringing him back."

Elliott is described as white, 5 feet 10 inches tall and 185 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes.

He wears metal-frame eyeglasses and is believed to be driving a 1979, rust-colored, two-door Pontiac.

Pub Date: 9/15/96

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