Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Alleged Silver Spring machete-wielding rapist arrested

Montgomery County police have arrested the suspect in yesterday's rape along the Northwest Branch Trail in Silver Spring. Jose Roberto Hernandez-Penal, 20, of Hyattsville has been with first-degree rape, kidnapping and armed robbery. At 2:40 PM on Tuesday, Hernandez-Penal allegedly approached two adult females on the trail, brandished a machete, and demanded property from the victims. They complied with the demand, but Hernandez-Penal then sexually assaulted one of the women, and then fled the scene. Shortly thereafter, he allegedly assaulted an adult male in the 1100 block of Devere Drive.

Montgomery County still does not have its own police helicopter, but a Maryland State Police chopper was called in to search the area. Officers set up a perimeter in the area. In cooperation with state troopers, Maryland-National Capital Park Police and Montgomery County police K-9 units, they located and arrested Hernandez-Penal.

In interviews with detectives, Hernandez-Penal allegedly "made statements of involvement" in Tuesday's incidents. Detectives believe that there may be additional victims of sexual assault by Hernandez-Penal that have not contacted police. They are urging anyone who believes themselves to be a victim to contact the police department's Special Victims Investigations Division at (240) 773-5050 or Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS(8477). Callers can remain anonymous. 

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