Noose Found in Montgomery Village Neighborhood Tree

Today at approximately 9:09 a.m., Montgomery County Police 6th District officers responded to reports of a noose seen hanging from a tree in the Heron’s Cove Condominium neighborhood in the 18900 block of Mills Choice Road in Montgomery Village.

The synthetic rope noose was found in a tree in a common area near the neighborhood parking lot this morning at approximately 8:00.

The residents whom officers interviewed had no indication that this was directed toward a specific individual or of any related suspicious activity in the neighborhood.

The noose was removed by the responding officer and entered into evidence.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Montgomery County Police Department at 301-279-8000.



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

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Olney Verizon Wireless Store Robbery Investigated; Surveillance Video Released

Suspects who committed an armed robbery at a Verizon Wireless Store in Olney

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department – Major Crimes Division continue to investigate the April 26 armed robbery of a Verizon Wireless store in Olney.  Today, investigators are releasing surveillance video of the two suspects and are asking for the public’s help in identifying them.

On April 26 at approximately 9:05 p.m., 4th District officers responded to the Verizon Wireless store located at 18130 Georgia Avenue for the report of an armed robbery that had just occurred.  The investigation by detectives revealed that the two suspects entered the store with their faces concealed and their hands in their pockets as two store employees were closing the business for the evening.  One suspect ordered both employees to a corner of the store and stood over them as the second suspect stole cell phones.  One of the employees stated to detectives that he believed that the suspect who stood over him was armed with a handgun.  The suspects fled out the front door and were last seen on foot toward Olney Laytonsville Road.

Anyone with information regarding the suspects or this armed robbery is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.  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.


Surveillance Video of Verizon Wireless Store Armed Robbery

Detectives Investigate Drowning in Rocky Gorge Reservoir

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division are investigating a drowning that occurred late yesterday afternoon.

On Tuesday, June 13 at approximately 4:44 p.m., first responders were called to the Rocky Gorge Reservoir (located in the Patuxent River) for the report of a possible drowning of a 20-year-old male.

Montgomery County Fire & Rescue, Howard County Fire & Rescue, and Natural Resources Police began a rescue mission.

At approximately 6:05 p.m., rescue personnel recovered the victim’s body in the water; he was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The victim will be identified once family notifications are complete.

Preliminary investigation by Montgomery County Police detectives revealed that the victim and two friends were walking along the river bank and planned on fishing.  The victim entered the water to swim.  The friends observed the victim go under the water and not resurface.

The victim’s body was sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore for autopsy.


Detectives Investigate Possible Drowning in Residential Pool

UPDATE 6/16/17: It has been determined that this was an accidental drowning.

Detectives from the Major Crimes Division are investigating the possible drowning of a 22-year-old female.

Yesterday evening at approximately 6:25 p.m., 2nd District officers and Fire & Rescue personnel responded to a residential pool on Corral Drive in Potomac for the report of a possible drowning.

Fire/Rescue personnel arrived at the home and began to attempt life-saving measures after pulling the victim from the pool.  The victim, identified as Jesusa Sarmiento Onton of Gaithersburg, was transported to a local hospital.  She was pronounced deceased early this morning.

Preliminary investigation by detectives indicates that the victim was visiting a woman who was cleaning the home and told the cleaner that she was going to go swimming by herself.  The woman discovered the victim unresponsive in the pool and called 9-1-1.

No foul play is suspected. The cause of death remains undetermined pending the results of an autopsy by the Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore.