MCPD Detective Recognized by Department of Justice for Exemplary Efforts in Missing Girl Case

MCPD Detective John Witherspoon (holding award) with DOJ Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio.

On Wednesday, May 23, as part of their recognition of National Missing Children’s Day, the Department of Justice presented Montgomery County Police Special Victims Investigations (SVID) Detective John Witherspoon with a Missing Children’s Law Enforcement Award. The award recognizes law enforcement efforts for significant investigative or program contributions to child safety.

Detective Witherspoon was honored for his exemplary efforts in investigating the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl from Gaithersburg who was later found murdered in Fairfax County, Virginia. Once the homicide was confirmed in Fairfax, he continued to work with Fairfax County Police in tracking down ten gang members who played a role in her death. He also provided personal support to the victim’s family; helping to arrange a community memorial service and to ensure their safety during the investigation.

“Detective Witherspoon demonstrated unusual tenacity in tracking down the vicious murderers of a teenage girl, and also showed extraordinary compassion in supporting her family through the investigation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jesse Panuccio. “The Department commends Detective Witherspoon for his remarkable combination of personal and professional commitment in this case.”

Witherspoon, who has been with the department for nearly 20 years, investigated and assisted in the recovery of 166 missing children last year. Prior to his current assignment as a SVID detective, he served for ten years as a School Resource Officer at Bethesda Chevy-Chase, Paint Branch, Springbrook and Watkins Mill High Schools.

For more details on this award and the other honorees, see the Department of Justice press release.

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