Germantown Pedestrian Collision Investigated

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department-Collision Reconstruction Unit are investigating a serious pedestrian collision that occurred Friday evening in Germantown.

At approximately 6:11 p.m., 5th District officers and Fire and Rescue personnel responded to the northbound lanes of Route 355, just north of Scenery Drive, for the report of a collision involving a pedestrian.

Preliminary investigation has indicated that the pedestrian, identified as Damien Anthony Denning, 47 years old, of an unconfirmed address, was crossing n the 19600 block of Route 355.  A red, 1998, Chevrolet Malibu was traveling north on Route 355 and struck Denning while he was crossing in the traffic lanes.  Denning was transported to Suburban Hospital where he remains in serious condition.

The driver of the Chevrolet is identified as James Wesley Ford, 52 years old, of Appledowre Court in Germantown.  Ford was transported to Holy Cross Germantown with non-life threatening injuries.

This collision remains under investigation.  Anyone with information regarding this collision is asked to contact the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620.


Update: Credit Card Theft Suspects Identified and Charged; Police Receive Tips from Public

Detectives from the 1st District Investigative Section have charged Raymond Clayborne, age 38, and Rosa Linda Merino, age 34, both of Fruitwood Way in Germantown, in connection with their involvement with the theft and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Detectives from the 1st District have been investigating three cases of credit card theft that occurred on October 5 and 6 at a shopping center on Rockville Pike.

Last week, the Department released surveillance photographs of these two suspects fraudulently using a victim’s stolen credit card; investigators asked for the public’s help to identify the suspects.  The Department then received multiple tips that provided the suspects’ names. Detectives determined that Clayborne works at the store where the victim last used her card and that Clayborne was working at that store on the day of the theft.

Investigators executed a search warrant at the suspects’ home on Fruitwood Way and located items that had been purchased with the stolen credit card.

On November 7, Clayborne was charged with credit card theft and numerous fraud charges and Merino was charged with obtaining property by the fraudulent use of a credit card.  Clayborne and Merino’s next court date is scheduled for December 8.

The Department thanks the media and public for publicizing this case and assisting with the identification of these two suspects.



Suspects now identified as Rosa Linda Merino and Raymond Clayborne



Death Investigation Leads to Discovery of Drugs

Detectives from the Major Crimes Division and detectives from the Special Investigations Division are investigating the death of a 35-year-old man and evidence of drug activity at a residence on Winona Court in the Kemp Mill area of Silver Spring.

The decedent is identified as Ethan Wiley Villemez, 35 years old, of the Winona Court address.  No foul play is suspected in Villemez’ death and according to family, Villemez had long-term health issues.  The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has not yet released the results of the autopsy.

Investigation determined that yesterday evening, Villemez’ brother went to the home to check on Villemez’ welfare after he was unable to make contact with him; Villemez’ brother located the decedent in the foyer and called 9-1-1 at approximately 7:36 p.m. Police and Fire/Rescue personnel responded to the Winona Court home and upon arriving at the scene, pronounced Villemez deceased.

Police found marijuana growing inside the home and also located chemicals commonly associated with the manufacuture of other drugs.  The chemicals and other evidence of drugs were removed from the home and there is no risk to the public.


Suspect Assaults Victim With Knife; Police Ask for Public’s Assistance in Identifying Suspect

Detectives from the 1st District Investigative Section are investigating the first-degree assault of a 22-year-old female and are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect.

On the night of October 7, officers responded to a local hospital to speak with an assault victim who was receiving medical treatment. The victim was suffering from a non-life-threatening stab wound to her back.

Detectives determined that the assault victim met the unknown suspect on a classified advertising website and agreed to meet the suspect at a hotel in Rockville. The two agreed that the male would pay cash in exchange for sexual acts. On October 7 at approximately 11:30 a.m., the victim and suspect met at the hotel and the suspect paid the victim the agreed fee.  The suspect then forced the victim’s hands behind her back. The victim removed a small knife from a sheath hanging on her necklace and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, the suspect stabbed the victim. The suspect alleged that he was a law enforcement officer and was trying to arrest the victim. The suspect took his cash and the victim’s knife before fleeing from the hotel.

Investigators obtained surveillance photographs of the suspect and are asking for the public’s help to identify him. The suspect is described as a black male, in his 30s, approximately 6’00” to 6’03” tall, bald , very muscular, and wearing all black. He wore black loafers that had silver buckles and wore a tan baseball cap.

The Anne Arundel County Police Department is investigating an October 6 robbery that is similar to this assault; detectives believe that the same suspect is involved in both incidents. In the Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County cases, the suspect and victim made arrangements on a website to meet at a hotel and exchange cash for sexual acts.   When the suspect and victim met at the hotel, the suspect placed the victim’s hands behind her back and alleged that he was a law enforcement officer. In the Anne Arundel County robbery case, the suspect stole the victim’s money before fleeing from the hotel. The suspect description is the same for both crimes, to include the wearing of a tan baseball cap.

Anyone with information about this suspect is asked to call the 1st District Investigative Section at 240-773-6084. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).  Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to them that leads to the arrest and/or indictment of this suspect.




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UPDATE: Three Suspects Arrested for Montgomery Village Homicide

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department have arrested three suspects for the November 1 homicide of Roberto Gutierrez Cruz. The suspects, Luis F. Avelar Morales, age 17, of Girard Street in Gaithersburg, Daniel Adonai Ramos, age 19, of Lost Knife Circle in Montgomery Village, and Juan Espinal Rapalo, age 18, of Summit Avenue in Gaithersburg, have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder and the use of a firearm during the commission of a felony or crime of violence.  Avelar Morales has been charged as an adult.

On November 2 at approximately 12:42 p.m., 6th District officers and Fire and Rescue personnel responded to the wooded area behind the 18200 block of Contour Road for the report of a possibly injured person. A passerby had located the person and called 911. Once at the scene, officers located the victim, identified as 22-year-old Roberto Gutierrez Cruz, of Lost Knife Road in Montgomery Village, deceased on the ground.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the manner of his death a homicide and the cause of his death as multiple gunshot wounds.

The homicide investigation has revealed that the three suspects and the victim were in the wooded area behind Contour Lane on November 1 at approximately 10:30 p.m. The facts and circumstances surrounding what occurred prior to the homicide are still under investigation, but at some point during this time on November 1, Cruz was shot.

Espinal Rapalo was arrested on November 4 and Avelar Morales was arrested on November 5.  During police questioning, both suspects stated that they were present during the homicide.  Espinal Rapalo and Avelar Morales are being held without bond.  (Espinal Rapalo continues to be held without bond after a bond review hearing.  Luis Morales has a bond review hearing scheduled for Monday, November 9).

Ramos was arrested today (November 7) and is currently being questioned by police.

Detectives have recovered the gun used in the homicide. Investigators believe that this homicide is gang related and that the suspects are associated with the MS-13 gang.  This investigation is ongoing and therefore additional information will not be released.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240.773.5070 or call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).


A photo of Avelar Morales is not being released because he is a juvenile.


Daniel Ramos


Juan Espinal Rapalo