Detectives Investigate Death in Rockville as Homicide; Suspect Arrested

Detectives with the Montgomery County Department of Police – Major Crimes Division are investigating the death of Yousuf Rasmussen, age 24, of Brookes Lane in Bethesda, as a homicide.

The suspect, 27-year-old Sophia Negroponte of an unconfirmed address, was arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree murder.

On Thursday, February 13, at approximately 11:16 p.m., 1st District officers, Rockville City police officers, and Fire and Rescue personnel responded to a residence in the 400 block of W. Montgomery Avenue for the report of a stabbing that had just occurred.  Responding officers located Rasmussen inside the residence suffering from what appeared to be a cutting wound.   Rasmussen was pronounced deceased at the scene.

During the investigation, detectives determined that Rasmussen and Negroponte were acquaintances and that they were involved in a disagreement while inside the home on W. Montgomery Avenue. During the disagreement, Rasmussen was injured.

Rasmussen’s body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in Baltimore where an autopsy will be conducted to determine the manner and cause of his death.

Bond information for Negroponte is not yet available.

This remains an active and ongoing investigation. Additional information will be released once it has been confirmed. Anyone with information regarding this homicide investigation is urged to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.

Update: Detectives Identify Suspect Involved in Virginia Beach Shooting; Wanted for 1992 Homicide of James Essel

Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police – Cold Case Unit have identified 51-year-old Hans Huitz of the 800 block of Maitland Drive in Virginia Beach, Virginia, as the person wanted for the homicide of James Essel that occurred on March 22, 1992.

On March 22, 1992, at approximately 6:00 p.m., a customer found James Essel, age 57, deceased inside the Sugarloaf Mountain Market located at 23800 Old Hundred Road in Comus.  The customer located Essel on the floor behind the checkout counter with a large amount of blood on and around him. The customer immediately ran out of the store and called 911. Investigation revealed that Essel owned and operated the store and was the only one working at the time of the homicide.

On March 23, 1992, an autopsy was performed on Essel.  The autopsy revealed that Essel sustained 29 stab wounds and his death was ruled a homicide by the Medical Examiner.

Since that time, detectives have been following various leads and information obtained during this homicide investigation.  In 2017, detectives were able to gather additional information regarding the suspect using the latest in DNA analysis and investigative techniques.  A press conference was held and a press release was issued at that time detailing the additional information.

At the end of January 2020, Huitz was identified as a possible suspect.  On February 10, 2020, with the assistance of the Virginia Beach Police Department, Cold Case detectives obtained a search and seizure warrant to obtain a buccal swab from Hans Huitz for comparison to the DNA evidence (blood) left by the suspect at the scene.

On February 11, 2020, Cold Case detectives, with the assistance of the Virginia Beach Police Department, served the search and seizure warrant on Hans Huitz and obtained a DNA sample from him.  The sample Huitz provided was analyzed and positively identified Huitz as the suspect who had committed the murder of James Essel in 1992.

On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, Repeat Offender Section detectives attached to a U.S. Marshals Task Force attempted to arrest Huitz in Virginia on the strength of an arrest warrant charging him with first-degree murder, felony murder, and robbery with a dangerous weapon.  While attempting to make the arrest, a confrontation between detectives and Huitz resulted in detectives using deadly force and Huitz succumbing to his injuries at the sceneThe facts and circumstances regarding the incident are currently being investigated by the Virginia Beach Police Department in cooperation with the Virginia Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.

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CTJ

Previous press releases:

Investigation Continues into 1992 Unsolved Homicide of James Essel; Detectives Ask For Public’s Assistance (March 22, 2016)

Media Advisory: Detectives Release Suspect Composite in 1992 Unsolved Homicide of James Essel; DNA Evidence Used to Create Composite (June 9, 2017)

DNA Evidence Left at Scene Used to Create Suspect Composite in 1992 Unsolved Homicide of James Essel (June 12, 2017)

 

James Essel

Sugarloaf Market (as it looked at time of homicide)

Detectives Investigate Homicide in Germantown

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Major Crimes Division are investigating a homicide that occurred in Germantown.  The victim has been identified as Dwayne Anthony Stanley, Jr., age 28, of Washington, D.C.

On Saturday, February 1, at approximately 10:30 p.m., a motorist on Great Seneca Highway observed an unresponsive individual who was lying on the sidewalk on Great Seneca Highway between Grotto Lane and Grey Eagle Court.  The driver called 911 and waited for police to arrive.

Officers and Fire and Rescue personnel responded to the area and located a male who appeared to be suffering from an apparent gunshot wound.  Despite attempted life-saving measures, the victim was declared deceased at the scene.

The victim’s body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore.  The Medical Examiner ruled the manner of death a homicide.

The investigation remains ongoing.  Anyone with information regarding this homicide is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.  Callers may remain anonymous.

Update: December 22 Shooting in Fairland Now Investigated as Homicide

Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police – Major Crimes Division are now investigating the December 22 shooting that occurred in the area of the 2000 block of Treetop lane in Fairland as a homicide.   The victim is identified as Joseph Lee Davis, age 28, of the 900 block of Clopper Road in Gaithersburg.  On December 25, Davis succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital.

On Sunday, December 22, at approximately 6:25 p.m., the Emergency Communications Center (911) received multiple calls for the sound of shots fired in the area of the 2000 block of Treetop Lane.  First responders located Davis on Treetop Lane suffering from an apparent gunshot wound.  Davis was transported to a local hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Detectives believe that this homicide was not a random event.

The investigation remains active and ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding this homicide is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.  Callers may remain anonymous.

rlg/CTJ

Detectives Investigate Domestic-Related Homicide in Damascus

Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police – Major Crimes Division are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred in a Damascus residence this morning as a domestic-related homicide.

On Wednesday, December 25, at approximately 7:52 a.m., officers responded to a home in the 28900 blocks of Kemptown Road in Damascus for the report of a shooting that had just occurred.

Prior to responding to the call, the Emergency Communications Center (911) received a call from a family member who had received a call from Bruce Tucker, age 84, who stated that he had just shot his wife, Deborah Tucker, age 54, and he was going to shoot himself as well.

Officers from the 5th District and members of the Emergency Response Team responded to the residence and attempted to make contact with the residents.  After repeated attempts to communicate with the Tuckers, officers made entry to the home and found both Deborah Tucker and Bruce Tucker suffering from apparent gunshot wounds.  Both were pronounced deceased on the scene.

Bruce Tucker and Deborah Tucker are husband and wife, respectively, and both reside in the Damascus residence.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting remain under investigation.

Detectives ask anyone with information regarding this homicide to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.

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CTJ