Update: Animal Services Officers Charge Woman with 128 Animal Cruelty Offenses from July Animal Hoarding Investigation

Laura Louise Prince

Officers with the Montgomery County Police Animal Services Division have charged Laura Louise Prince with 128 animal cruelty offenses resulting from their investigation into the welfare of animals housed at two of her residences: a townhouse in the 12000 block of Sweetbough Court in North Potomac and an apartment in the 9800 block of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

Prince, age 62, most recently of the 9800 block of Georgia Avenue, turned herself into authorities on Monday, August 6, and was charged with 128 animal cruelty offenses. That same day she posted a $2,500 bond and was released.

On June 23, Animal Services Officers (ASO’s) were called to the North Potomac address for the report of a cat in distress. The responding officer found the cat was not in distress but detected a strong odor of ammonia that prompted the officer to have concern about the sanitary conditions inside the residence. No one answered the door and a note was left to contact the officer. No reply was received.

The ASO was later able to contact the homeowner, Laura Louise Prince, by phone and was told by Prince that she had 8 cats in the residence and that she was out of town. An animal welfare inspection of the residence was arranged for Saturday, July 14. When the officer arrived for the inspection it was observed to be in overwhelmingly unsanitary and unsafe conditions. Prince agreed to surrender the animals to the Animal Services Division for care at the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) located at 7315 Muncaster Mill Road in Derwood. Inspectors from the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs were contacted, and after their inspection of the property, the home was condemned as unfit for human habitation.

Over the course of the next 14 days, ASO’s removed 75 cats and one domestic rabbit from the North Potomac residence. An examination by veterinarians at the MCASAC found that every animal was infested with fleas to such an extent that it overwhelmed the animals normal grooming behavior and that scratching was causing hair loss.

On July 25, ASO’s verified that multiple animals were also being kept in unsanitary conditions at Prince’s Silver Spring residence on Georgia Avenue. That evening a search warrant was served and 50 cats and two domestic rabbits were removed from that residence and transported to the MCASAC for treatment. These animals were also infested with fleas and that scratching was causing hair loss.

After proper treatment and care at the MCASAC, the animals’ conditions have improved and they are now engaging in normal grooming behavior.

“Admittedly, this was a difficult case from the outset. The barriers and conditions including flea infestation and unsafe air quality in the townhouse on Sweetbough Court presented extraordinary challenges to our officers, whose performance was extraordinary in their efforts to safely remove the cats from this home,” said Animal Services Division Director Thomas Koenig.  “Now we are presented with the difficult challenge of adding 128 animals to our shelter operations, forcing us to make difficult choices based on limited resources.”

Officers with the Animal Services Division want the public to contact them at 301-279-8000 whenever there is concern about conditions and circumstances regarding animal housing or treatment. If an animal’s life is in immediate danger, it is appropriate to call the 9-1-1 emergency number.

Media contact: ASD Director Thomas Koenig                                                              240-773-5928 or Thomas.Koenig@montgomerycountymd.gov

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Concern for Missing Silver Spring Man

Brice Byrd

Update: August 8 at 5:45 p.m.- Brice Byrd has been located safe and unharmed.

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – 3rd District Investigative Section are asking for the public’s help to locate a missing Silver Spring man.

Brice Byrd, age 36, of the 500 block of Thayer Avenue, was last seen by a caretaker at approximately 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31, when he left his residence on foot.

Byrd is described as an African American male, 5’10” tall, and weighing approximately 130 pounds.  He has black hair and brown eyes.  Byrd is known to frequent the District of Columbia.

Mr. Byrd is without his medication and police and caretakers are concerned for his emotional and physical welfare.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Brice Byrd is asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000 (available 24 hours).  Callers may remain anonymous.


Silver Alert Issued for Senior Male missing from Burtonsville

William Benjamin Miller

Update: August 8 at 9:50 p.m. – William Benjamin Miller has been located safe and unharmed.  The Silver Alert for Mr. Miller has been canceled.

A Silver Alert has been issued by Maryland State Police for William Benjamin Miller, an 83-year-old black male who suffers from dementia. Detectives from the Montgomery County Police – 3rd District Investigative Section are requesting the public’s assistance to locate him.

Miller is described as a black male, 5’10” tall, and weighing 215 pounds. He is bald and has brown eyes. It is not known what he may be wearing.

Miller was last seen at his residence in the 2800 block of Cabin Creek Drive in Burtonsville today (August 8) at approximately 1 p.m. He is believed to be driving a blue Toyota Prius with Maryland tag 7BK0505.

Anyone with information about Mr. Miller’s whereabouts is asked to call the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000 (available 24/7).

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Detectives Investigate Attempted Carjacking in Bethesda; Surveillance Video Released

One of two suspects in an attempted carjacking in Bethesda

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Major Crimes Division continue to investigate an August 2 attempted carjacking that occurred in Bethesda.  Today, detectives are releasing surveillance video of the two suspects and are asking for the public’s help to identify them.

The investigation by detectives revealed that on Thursday, August 2 at approximately 9:15 p.m., the adult male victim was returning to his parked vehicle inside a parking garage of the Westfield Montgomery mall located at 7101 Democracy Boulevard when he was approached by the two suspects.  One suspect demanded the victim’s car key and the second suspect threatened the victim by implying that he was armed with a weapon.  The suspects obtained the victim’s key, entered the vehicle, and started the car.  Detectives believe that the suspects then realized that they could not drive a manual transmission.  Both suspects then fled on foot and were last seen on the second level of the parking garage.

Anyone who has information about these two suspects or this attempted carjacking is asked to call Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5100. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County 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 and/or indictment for this crime.


Update: Robbery and Assault of Victim Immediately Preceded Hewitt Avenue Fatal Hit and Run; Third Suspect Charged

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Major Crimes Division have charged Ashley Elizabeth Bonilla, age 15, of Holdridge Avenue in Silver Spring, as an adult, with the first-degree murder and armed robbery of 40-year-old Gregory Jonathan Atwood of Tynewick Drive in the Bel Pre area.  Bonilla is the third suspect to be charged with offenses related to this crime.

Through investigation, detectives have determined that on June 8 at approximately 3:15 a.m., Mohammed Salous, age 17, of Glenmont Circle in Silver Spring, Kenneth Kpakima (also spelled Kapakima), age 21, of Venice Drive in Silver Spring , and Ashley Bonilla, were walking in the 3300 block of Hewitt Avenue when they encountered Gregory Atwood (the victim).  The three suspects stole the victim’s backpack and assaulted him.  The victim fell backward into a wooded area adjacent to the intersection of Georgia and Hewitt Avenues.  Salous and Kpakima followed the victim into the woods and continued to assault him.  Kpakima stole the victim’s wallet.  The assault was captured on video surveillance with audio.

The three suspects watched the victim crawl out of the woods and toward the 13500 block of Georgia Avenue, enter the roadway, and collapse.  The suspects watched the victim lay motionless on the road and then watched a vehicle run over the victim.  The suspects then fled from the area.

At approximately 3:50 a.m., 4th District officers responded to southbound Georgia Avenue at Hewitt Avenue for the report of a person in the roadway.

The victim’s body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office and on July 10, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland ruled the death a homicide.

Detectives previously charged Salous as an adult with assault-related offenses and murder for his involvement in this crime and charged Kpakima with assault and armed robbery offenses related to this crime.  The investigation is continuing.

Collision Reconstruction Unit detectives continue to investigate the hit-and-run element of this investigation.  Their investigation indicates that the victim was struck by at least two separate vehicles. The drivers of those vehicles did not remain on the scene. Detectives request anyone with information regarding the vehicles involved to contact the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620.

Bonilla will have bond review today in Rockville District Court.

Photos of Bonilla and Salous will not be released due to their ages.

Previous Press Releases:

Update: Robbery and Assault Immediately Preceded Hewitt Avenue Fatal Hit and Run; Suspects Arrested

Detectives Investigate Fatal Pedestrian Hit and Run Collision in Aspen Hill