Arundel police seek help in rape case

Detectives have few leads in September attack

February 07, 2003|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

In the nearly five months since a young Russian woman walking to work early one morning was dragged into the Severn woods and raped, Anne Arundel County police detectives have seen their handful of leads in the case fizzle.

Now, detectives in the Anne Arundel County Police Department's sex-crimes unit are pleading for the public's help in what they say is the county's only open rape case involving an attack by a stranger.

"It's one of the most violent cases I've ever seen," said Detective Victor Creel, who is investigating the Sept. 21 attack.

Last year, county police investigated about 80 reports of rape, said Sgt. Katherine Goodwin, head of the sex-crimes unit. Fewer than two dozen involved attacks by strangers, she said.

The woman attacked in September was a 19-year-old who walked to work at a McDonald's restaurant at Route 170 and Quarterfield Road every morning from her home in Pioneer City, Creel said.

As she made her three-mile walk along Reece Road the morning of the assault, a man sitting on a guardrail made a comment to her, Creel said. She acknowledged him briefly and continued walking, he said.

Minutes later, the same man attacked her and dragged her about 50 yards into a wooded area near an abandoned house and assaulted her, nearly asphyxiating her, the detective said. Afterward, he stole money and her belongings and ran off, Creel said.

The woman stumbled back to the road, where two men delivering newspapers gave her a ride back to her home, where she called 911.

The woman, who had lived in the county for less than six months and was part of a cooperative work program with McDonald's, was so shaken that she returned to Russia within two weeks of the attack, Creel said.

The state's attorney's office has agreed to fly her back to Maryland for court proceedings if an arrest is made.

A few days after the attack, police found the items stolen from the woman in a construction area near Meade Village, Creel said.

"We're almost 100 percent sure it's someone local," he said. "It's more than coincidence. He was there at the time she was walking to work."

Creel said leads in the case have run dry and that few people in the Pioneer City and Meade Village areas have called in tips. But police have a DNA sample on file.

The suspect is described as a black man in his mid-20s, 5 feet 11 inches tall, about 180 pounds, with short hair and wearing a football jersey with a blue No. 2. Police think the victim might have scratched her attacker's face.

Goodwin said detectives will canvass the Pioneer City and Meade Village areas again in search of new leads. Anyone with information can call Creel at 410-222-3468.

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