Incident may indicate region assault spree
An unidentified man robbed and sexually assaulted a Blair senior at knifepoint as she drove home on Mar 13 from a White Oak fitness center, police said. Authorities believe that this incident might be linked to a recent series of attacks in the area.
The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, resisted rape and suffered minor abrasions to her arms and hands. Police are still searching for the assailant, who is described as a Hispanic male in his thirties, 5' 8" tall and about 165 pounds. Detective Errol Birch of the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) said police have not identified any suspects.
This case might be related to a Mar 3 rape case that occurred on Lowander Lane in Silver Spring, according to Birch. The suspect descriptions are similar, and in both cases the female victims were targeted at night while they were alone, Birch said.
Birch also said that over the past two months, nearly half a dozen sexual assaults have occurred in regions of Montgomery, Prince George's and Fairfax County. "We are not sure if the attacks are all related, but it is very rare to see so many violent physical assaults committed by a perfect stranger," he said.
According to the victim, after she left the Kimble's Health & Fitness for Women parking lot, the attacker emerged from the back seat of her minivan with a knife. He ordered her to drive to a secluded area nearby.
The victim said the man then forced her into the backseat, where he inappropriately kissed and touched her while threatening her with the weapon. "He would bring the knife close and ask me, ‘Do you want to die?'" she said.
When the attacker accidentally dropped the knife, a struggle for possession of the weapon ensued. According to the victim, once she gained a firm grip on the knife's handle, the attacker bit her arm and then fled from the van, allowing her to return to the gym to seek help.
Though the victim has been back to the gym since the attack, the incident still upsets her. "I've never felt more violated in my entire life," she said.
MCPD spokesman Derek Baliles said in the Mar 19 Gazette that it is unclear if the attacker specifically selected the victim or if he targeted the fitness center because the gym serves only females.
The gym's owner, who also wished to remain unidentified, said security has significantly increased in the area since the attack. She said there are security guards available to escort women to their cars, and the gym is working with police and detectives to solve the case.
Although the victim is relieved that she survived the attack without severe injuries, she said that the incident could have been avoided if the door behind her driver's seat had locked properly. "If that lock hadn't been jammed, the attacker wouldn't have entered the van in the first place," she said.
Jennie Breads. Senior Jennifer Breads is the Managing Health Editor for this year. Aside from writing lots of health stories, Jennifer enjoys playing soccer and lacrosse and she is excited to be part of the Silver Chips team! More »