Montgomery County Police 1st District Holds 10th Annual Police Adventure Camp

2016 Adventure Campers with a K-9 team

Montgomery County Police (MCP) 1st District officers and civilian staff will hold their tenth annual Police Adventure Camp. The week-long camp, held this year from Monday, June 26 through Friday, June 30, will take place at Maryvale Elementary School located at 1000 1st Street in Rockville.

The camp, serving approximately 35 campers, is a partnership between the police department, Montgomery County Public Schools, and the Linkages to Learning program.

The day-camping experience will provide the 3rd- through 5th-grade campers with a unique opportunity to better understand the work of police officers, but also allow the campers to get to know some of the officers in supportive and mentoring roles. The campers will receive guidance in conflict resolution, team work and good-decision making.

Presentations will be provided by the 1st District Traffic Squad, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and members of the MCP Volunteer Section. The campers will also see demonstrations by MCP Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) officers and K-9 teams.

Camp attendees will have the opportunity to tour the Public Safety Headquarters and the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center, as well as spend a day exploring Port Discovery in Baltimore.

Police Adventure Camp teaches young people that they can have a positive impact on their community, that their decisions matter, and that police care about them. During the camp, officers and non-sworn staff try to make a positive difference in the life of each child that attends the camp. The camp concludes with a special graduation ceremony on Friday afternoon.

The first annual Police Adventure Camp was held at Veirs Mill Elementary School in June of 2008. Since then, the camp program has been honored with a Maryland Governor’s Service Award and a National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award.

The Police Adventure Camp is a community effort and donations have been crucial to its success. The department would like to thank the McDonalds in Twinbrook, the Chick-fil-A in the Montrose Crossing Shopping Center in Rockville, Branded ’72 in Rockville, the Twinbrook Deli, Giuseppi’s Pizza Plus in Rockville and Jersey Mike’s in the Wintergreen Shopping Center in Rockville, for their generous donations.

NOTE: Members of the media are encouraged to cover this unique camp experience. Excellent coverage opportunities include:
*Monday, June 26, 2 p.m., for the SWAT presentation to the campers
*Wednesday, June 28, beginning at 10 a.m. for the Traffic Squad and K-9 presentations
*Friday, June 30 at 3 p.m. for the culminating graduation ceremony.
Please call the Public Information Office, 240-773-5030 (option 4) to coordinate your coverage of the camp.
# # #
lehb

DNA Evidence Left at Scene Used to Create Suspect Composite in Series of Unsolved Rapes

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Cold Case Squad continue to investigate six reported residential burglaries and rapes of females that occurred between June 19, 2010 and September 2, 2012 and are believed to have been committed by the same suspect.  Detectives recently sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon), a DNA technology company in Virginia that specializes in DNA phenotyping: the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence.  Using DNA evidence (body fluids) left by the suspect at these rape scenes, Parabon’s Shapshot DNA Phenotyping Service has produced a composite (referred to as a Snapshot composite) depicting how the suspect in this case may have looked.

How the Suspect Composite Was Created

Parabon’s Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service used the DNA evidence (body fluids) left by the suspect at the scene to produce trait predictions for the suspect.  Individual predictions were made for the subject’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape.  By combining these attributes of appearance, Shapshot composites were produced depicting what the suspect might look like at a certain age and with a certain body-mass index (BMI).  The default ages and default BMIs were used because age and BMI cannot be determined from DNA.

It is important to note that Snapshot composites are scientific approximations of appearance based on DNA, and are not likely to be exact replicas of appearance.  Environmental factors such as smoking, drinking, diet, and other non-environmental factors – e.g., facial hair, hairstyle, scars, etc. – cannot be predicted by DNA analysis and may cause further variation between the subject’s predicted and actual appearances.

Snapshot Suspect Composite

Sketch created by a victim of one of the sexual assaults that depicts a red baseball hat with white embroidered vines and leaves. The victim reported that the suspect wore this hat during the sexual assault.

 

 

Residential Burglary Rapes of Females:

  • On June 19, 2010 at approximately 3:20 a.m., the suspect gained entry into the 68-year-old woman’s home in the 20300 block of Beaconfield Terrace in Germantown and sexually assaulted her. Suspect DNA evidence was recovered in this case.

 

  • On August 21, 2010 at approximately 4:15 a.m., the suspect forced entry into the 86-year-old woman’s home in the 2100 block of Father Hurley Boulevard in Germantown and sexually assaulted her. Suspect DNA recovered matched the suspect DNA recovered from the June 19, 2010 sexual assault.

 

  • On January 5, 2011 at approximately 12:45 a.m., the June 19, 2010, 68-year-old victim was raped again after the suspect gained entry into her home. Suspect DNA evidence matched the DNA evidence from the previous two rapes suspect.

 

  • On August 28, 2011 at approximately 12:45 a.m., the rape of a 37-year-old woman occurred after her home was broken into in the 900 block of Clopper Road in Gaithersburg. Suspect DNA evidence recovered from this rape was inconclusive.

 

  • On July 31, 2012 at approximately 9:17 p.m., the rape of a 95-year-old woman occurred after her home was broken into in the 2700 block of Avena Street in Wheaton. No DNA evidence was recovered from this rape.

 

  • On September 2, 2012 at approximately 4:10 a.m., the rape of a 54-year-old woman occurred after her home was broken into in the 18100 block of Metz Drive in Germantown. No DNA evidence was recovered from this rape.

Anyone with Information

With the release of the suspect composite, detectives are hoping someone will recognize the suspect and call the Police Department.  Anyone with information regarding the suspect or anyone that believes he/she may have details that might advance this investigation is urged to contact the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070. For those who wish to remain anonymous, Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to the arrest of the suspect(s). Tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

RLG

Update: Three Suspects Arrested for the June 5 Double Homicide of Shadi Adi Najjar and Artem S. Ziberov

On the night of Saturday, June 17, Montgomery County Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger announced the arrests of three suspects responsible for the shooting deaths of 17-year-old Shadi Adi Najjar and 18-year-old Artem S. Ziberov that occurred on June 5, while the victims were inside a blue Honda Civic parked in the 8200 block of Gallery Court in Montgomery Village.

Earlier on June 17, Edgar Garcia-Gaona, age 24, of the 100 block of Lamont Lane in Gaithersburg, Roger Garcia, age 19, of the 19500 block of Frederick Road in Germantown, and Jose Ovilson Canales-Yanez, age 25, of the 18400 block of Cape Jasmine Way in Gaithersburg, were arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

Involvement from members of the community helped facilitate this investigation, which led to today’s arrests.

During the investigation it was learned from a friend of Najjar’s that Najjar had committed a drug-related robbery in December of 2016 or January of 2017, where it was rumored that he had stolen drugs from a female during a drug transaction.

It was also learned from the same friend that just prior to this death, Najjar told the friend that he was planning to sell a graduation ticket to an individual named Roger Garcia. That was the last communication Najjar had prior to his death. It occurred at approximately 10:15 p.m.

Detectives developed that Roger Garcia’s brother, Edgar Garcia-Gaona, was shot on February 10, 2017 during a botched drug deal, also in Montgomery Village. Garcia-Gaona was reported to have been carrying a weapon and did exchange gunshots with his assailants.

A friend of Edgar Garcia-Gaona, Jose Canales-Yanez, was determined to be the boyfriend (now possibly husband) of Kara Yanez. Kara Yanez is believed to be the victim of the rumored drug-related robbery committed by Najjar. In a report filed by Kara Yanez on December 14, 2016, Yanez stated that she was approached by a blue Honda Civic while she was walking, and a front-seat passenger grabbed her Apple iPad. She was dragged by the car for approximately 50 feet.

The developing motive for the shooting is that it was in retaliation for Najjar’s robbery of Kara Yanez. At this time, it is unknown if there was a motive for the killing of Ziberov, or if his death was incidental to the killing of Najjar.

“Although detectives have made these three arrests, this by no means should be interpreted that the investigation has concluded,” said Chief Manger. “These most recent developments are the result of the community taking an active role in this investigation. It is believed that, considering the progress made over the past 36 hours, there are additional sources of information who have yet to come forward.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070. Those wishing to remain anonymous, may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County, which is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to additional arrests and indictments. Tipsters can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

All three suspects arrested on June 17, are being held without bond. They are currently scheduled to have bail review hearings on Monday, June 19 at 1 p.m.

Previous Press Releases:

Detectives Investigate Double Homicide in Montgomery Village

Update: Victims’ Identities Released in Montgomery Village Homicide; Detectives Request Community Assistance

Update: Major Crimes Detectives Continue to Investigate Double Homicide; Urging Those With Information to Call Police

Edgar Garcia-Gaona

Roger Garcia

Jose Ovilson Canales-Yanez

# # #

lehb

Detectives Seek Public’s Assistance to Locate Missing Silver Spring Woman

Diep Thi Le

Update: June 16 at approximately 11:00 pm – Diep Thi Le has been located safe and unharmed.

—————————————————-

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department’s 3rd District Investigative Section are asking the public for help to locate a 49-year-old woman missing from Silver Spring.

Diep Thi Le of the 1900 block of Grey Castle Way was last seen at her residence yesterday, June 15, at approximately 7 a.m. When she left, it was not known where she was going.

Le is described as an Asian female, 4’ 11” tall and weighing 100 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes. It is not known what she may be wearing.

Family and police are concerned for Diep Thi Le’s mental and physical well-being.

Anyone with any information regarding Ms. Le’s whereabouts is asked to call the Montgomery County Police Department’s non-emergency line at 301-279-8000 (24- hour-line).

# # #
lehb

Update: Rocky Gorge Drowning Victim Identified; Death Ruled as Accidental

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division have been investigating the June 13 death of a young man that occurred at the Rocky Gorge Reservoir located on the Patuxent River.

The victim is identified as Douglas Alex Merino, age 20 from the 500 block of Summit Hall Road in Gaithersburg. An autopsy that was completed in Baltimore by the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause and manner of death to be an accidental drowning.

On June 13, police and fire and rescue personnel were notified by a call to the Montgomery County 911 emergency call center at approximately 4:44 p.m. for a possible drowning.

The initial emergency response was a rescue mission coordinated by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, Howard County Fire and Rescue, and the Natural Resources Police. At approximately 6:05 p.m., the rescue personnel found and recovered Merino’s body in the water. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The preliminary investigation by Montgomery County police detectives developed that Merino and two friends went to the Rocky Gorge Reservoir to fish. Merino entered the water to swim and was observed struggling in the water before going under. The victim’s friends called 9-1-1.

Public Safety responders offer the following important reminders:

Swimming in lakes, rivers, or other natural bodies of water should only occur at a designated swimming area that is protected by lifeguards.

Always respect signs posted at natural bodies of water prohibiting bathing, wading or swimming. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission notes on its website that these are prohibited activities at the Rocky Gorge Reservoir. These activities are also prohibited in the Potomac River at Great Falls Park in Maryland and Virginia.

If you have not seen a sign or a designated swimming area, always assume that any natural body of water is too dangerous for bathing, wading or swimming. Swimming in a natural body of water is different from swimming in a pool. Particularly for a novice swimmer, but even for an experienced swimmer, more skills and energy are required for natural water environments because there are:

  • Fast-moving currents, waves and rapids, even in shallow water
  • Hazards, such as dams, underwater obstacles, or rocks or debris moving on the surface or along the bottom of the water
  • Sudden drop-offs that change water depths
  • Aquatic life, such as vegetation that could entangle feet and arms
  • Conditions can change quickly

# # #

lehb