Detectives Investigate Attempted Sexual Assault in North Bethesda

Detectives from the Special Victims Investigations Division (SVID) are investigating a sexual assault that occurred in the North Bethesda area yesterday.

On Thursday, February 13, at approximately 3:05 p.m, an unknown male attempted to sexually assault an adult female victim on California Circle in Rockville. The victim resisted and the subject fled.

The suspect is described as a black male in his late teens to early 30s, 6-feet tall, and with a muscular build. The suspect may have bite marks on his hands from the victim. The suspect was wearing blue or gray pants and a gray hooded sweatshirt.

Detectives are asking anyone who has information about the suspect or who may have information about this attempted sexual assault to call the Special Victims Investigations Division at 240-773-0432. Those who wish to remain anonymous may 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 their line that leads to an arrest and/or indictment for this crime.

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.



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)

(LOCATED) Concern for Missing Germantown Woman

Amy Renee Vollmer

Update: February 14 – Amy Renee Vollmer has been located safe and unharmed. 

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – 5th District Investigative Section are asking the public for help in locating a missing Germantown woman.

Amy Renee Vollmer, age 42, of Esmond Court, was last seen driving her 1999 green Honda Civic with an unknown West Virginia license plate at approximately 7:00 this morning when she dropped off a family member in the area of Great Seneca Highway and Wisteria Drive in Germantown.  Family has been unable to contact her since that time.

Vollmer is approximately 5’ 05” tall and weighs 130 pounds.  She has brown hair and brown eyes.

Police and family are concerned for Vollmer’ s physical and emotional welfare.

Anyone who has information regarding the whereabouts of Amy Renee Vollmer is asked to call the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000 (24 hours).

Detectives Investigate Gaithersburg Pharmacy Attempted Armed Robbery; Surveillance Video Released

Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police – Major Crimes Division continue to investigate the February 4 attempted armed robbery of a pharmacy in Gaithersburg. Today, investigators are releasing surveillance video of the suspect and are asking for the public’s help in identifying him.

On Tuesday, February 4, at approximately 7:10 p.m., 6th District officers and Gaithersburg Police Department officers responded to the Potomac Care Pharmacy located at 12103 Darnestown Road for the report of an attempted armed robbery that had just occurred.

The investigation by detectives revealed that the suspect entered the pharmacy and began a conversation with an employee who was working behind the counter.  The suspect then stated that he was armed with a handgun and demanded cash from the business.  The employee activated the pharmacy’s alarm system and the suspect fled from the business without obtaining any property.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect or this attempted armed robbery is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5100. Those who wish to remain anonymous may 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 an arrest in this case.


Detectives Investigate Fatal Pedestrian-Involved Collision in Montgomery Village

Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police – Collision Reconstruction Unit are investigating a fatal pedestrian-involved collision that occurred yesterday evening in Montgomery Village.

On Wednesday, February 12 at approximately 7:05 p.m., 6th District officers and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue personnel responded to Midcounty Highway at Pier Point Place for a report of a serious collision involving a pedestrian.

Preliminary investigation has determined that a 2014 Acura MDX was traveling southbound on Midcounty Highway approaching Pier Point place. For reasons still under investigation, the MDX struck an adult male pedestrian, who was attempting to cross Midcounty Highway at Pier Point Place. The pedestrian was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.  The adult male driver of the MDX and an adult female passenger in the MDX were not injured in the collision.

The driver of the Acura MDX is identified as 44-year-old Joergen Jacala Noveras of Creeper Lane in Gaithersburg.

The pedestrian is identified as 62-year-old Adonias Gomez of the 400 block of Girard Street in Gaithersburg.

This collision investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620.